Question 5: In the Age of Grace God was incarnated to become the sin offering and take on the burden of man’s sin. This all accords to reason. In the Age of Grace God was incarnated to become the sin offering and take on the burden of man’s sin. This all accords to reason. The Lord Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and became the Son of man to redeem mankind in His sinless body. Only in so doing was Satan humiliated. In the last days, God has been incarnated as the Son of man again to do the work of judgment. We have seen this to be fact. What I want to ask is this. God’s two incarnations are slightly different, the first was in Judea, and the second is in China. Now, why is it that God has to be incarnated twice to do the work of saving mankind? What is the true significance of God’s two incarnations?
Answer: Why is it that God must be incarnated twice to do the work of saving mankind? We should first be clear: With regard to the salvation of mankind, God’s two incarnations have a deep and profound meaning. Because the work of salvation, no matter if we’re talking about the redemption or the judgment and purification of the last days, can not be performed by man. It requires God to be incarnated and perform the work Himself. In the Age of Grace, God was incarnated as the Lord Jesus, that is, God’s Spirit clothed Himself in a holy and sinless flesh, and was nailed to the cross to serve as a sin offering, redeeming man from his sinfulness. We all understand this. But as for the return of the Lord Jesus in the last days, why is He incarnated in the flesh as the Son of man to appear and work? Many have a hard time understanding this. If Almighty God had not explained this aspect of the truth and unveiled this mystery, no one would have understood this truth. Let’s see what exactly Almighty God has said.
Almighty God says: “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 has 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 a normal body of flesh. Only in this way can He supply men with the practical way that they need as created beings. 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 ways and all the truths and receive full salvation.” “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. … 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 management plan for man’s salvation” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)).
From Almighty God’s words we see that in the Age of Grace God was incarnated the first time merely to do the work of redemption, using the crucifixion as a sin offering to redeem man from his sinfulness, to relieve man from the curses and condemnation of the law. We had only to confess our sins and repent and our sins would be forgiven. We could then enjoy the bountiful grace and truth. This is the work of redemption which the Lord Jesus did, and is the true meaning of being saved by faith in the Lord. We are saved through our faith in the Lord and is pardoned of our sins, but are we truly rid of our sinfulness? Though the Lord Jesus pardoned us of our sins, we have yet to wrest ourselves from the fetters of sinfulness, for we are still possessed of our sinful nature and satanic disposition. Though we have admitted our sins to the Lord and have gained His pardon, we have no knowledge of our sinful nature, and have even less knowledge of our corrupt disposition, a condition much more serious than sinfulness. We are only capable of recognizing that sin within ourselves which consists of lawlessness, and that which results in the accusation of our conscience. But we fail to recognize the deeper sins, the sin of resistance to God. For instance, we have no knowledge of the root of our resistance to God, or how our satanic disposition is made manifest, how our satanic nature came to be, what Satan’s poisons exist within our nature, where man’s satanic philosophy and satanic logic and rules arise from. So why is it that man has no knowledge of these satanic things? Given that man has been pardoned of his sins by the Lord Jesus, why can’t he wrest himself from the fetters of sinfulness, and why does he even continue to commit the same sins? Is man truly pure once he has been pardoned of his sins? Is he truly then holy? This is a truly practical issue that no one in the Age of Grace seems to understand. Though in our belief in the Lord, we are pardoned of our sins, we still unknowingly commit sins, resisting and betraying God. We believers have first-hand knowledge of this. For instance, even after putting faith in the Lord, we continue to lie, to be vain, to despise the truth and uphold evil. We are still arrogant, treacherous, selfish and greedy; we are helplessly caught up in the corrupt disposition of Satan. Many men work tirelessly for the Lord, but they do so in the hopes of being rewarded and entering into the kingdom of heaven. When they enjoy the Lord’s grace they are happy and resolute in their faith in the Lord; but as soon as they are faced with disaster, or there is some tragedy in the family, they misunderstand, blame and even deny and betray the Lord. As soon as God’s work is not in line with their conceptions and illusions, they act like hypocritical Pharisees, resisting and condemning God. This goes to show that though we accepted the Lord Jesus’ salvation and were forgiven our sins, this does not mean that we have thoroughly rid ourselves of sin and are now holy, even less does it mean that we have become of God and have been gained by God. So, when the Lord Jesus comes again to do the work of judgment in the last days, many from the religious world come to judge, condemn and blaspheme God, publicly announcing Him as their adversary and nailing Him once again to the cross. Could those that publicly condemn and resist God be raptured into the kingdom of heaven just on the basis of their sins being pardoned? Could God allow these evil forces that resist God within the kingdom of heaven? Would God rapture these antichrists, these haters of truth, into the kingdom of heaven? No! Because God is holy and righteous! As you can see, though we are pardoned of our sins through our faith in the Lord, we have not fully rid ourselves of sinfulness, rid ourselves of the satanic influences, and have even less so been gained by God and become of God. So, if we humans wish to rid ourselves of sin and become holy, to be fully gained by God, we must be thoroughly purified and saved by the work of God’s second incarnation.
We have far too simple a view of God’s work of salvation, as if as soon as man’s sins were pardoned there were no other issues, and all that was left was just to wait to be raptured by the Lord into the kingdom of heaven. How naive and childish corrupt man is! How ridiculous corrupt mankind’s conceptions and illusions! Was sin the only problem to afflict mankind after being corrupted by Satan? What is the root of man’s sin? What is sin? Why does God detest it? To this day, no one has a proper understanding. Man has been corrupted thoroughly by Satan, to what degree is their corruption? No one is clear. The reality of man’s thorough corruption was made evident during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. The fact that humans could crucify the merciful Lord Jesus, who had expressed so much truth, truly showed that man had become a descendant of Satan, a brood of Satan, and had entirely lost their humanity, they did not even possess the slightest modicum of rationality or conscience. Who among man still possesses normal humanity? Doesn’t man’s resistance and animosity toward God indicate that man has come to the point where it’s either them or Him, where they become irreconcilable with God? Can this problem really be solved by having their sins be pardoned? Who can guarantee that by having their sins pardoned, man won’t resist God or take Him as their enemy? No one can guarantee it! Man’s sins may be pardoned, but can God pardon man’s nature? A nature which is resistant to God? Can God pardon man’s satanic disposition that fills him? Then, how does God resolve these things belonging to Satan? Without a doubt, God uses judgment and chastisement. It’s fair to say, without God’s righteous judgment and chastisement, corrupt man would not be conquered, much less would they sink to the ground in deep humiliation. This is the main reason why God must be incarnated to do the work of judgment. There are many who question and have conceptions regarding God being incarnated to do the work of judgment in the last days. Why is this so? This is because they fail to see the reality of man’s absolute corruption. So, as a result, they don’t have the slightest understanding of the meaning of God’s work of judgment in the last days. They hold fast to their notions, and fail to seek and investigate the true way. In this way, how could they possibly accept and obey God’s work?
We humans cannot comprehend the profound depth of significance of God’s two incarnations. So, as for why God has been incarnated twice, and what the meaning of the two incarnations is, for this aspect of the truth, let us turn to two passages from Almighty God. Almighty God says: “The significance of incarnation is that an ordinary, normal man performs the work of God Himself; that is, that God performs His divine work in humanity and thereby vanquishes Satan. Incarnation means that God’s Spirit becomes a flesh, that is, God becomes flesh; the work that the flesh does is the work of the Spirit, which is realized in the flesh, expressed by the flesh. No one except God’s flesh can fulfill the ministry of the incarnate God; that is, only God’s incarnate flesh, this normal humanity—and no one else—can express the divine work. … That He possesses normal humanity proves that He is God incarnated in the flesh; the fact that He undergoes a normal human growth process further demonstrates that He is a normal flesh; moreover, His work is sufficient proof that He is God’s Word, God’s Spirit, become flesh. God becomes flesh because of the needs of His work; in other words, this stage of work must be done in the flesh, it must be performed in normal humanity. This is the prerequisite for ‘the Word become flesh,’ for ‘the Word’s appearance in the flesh,’ and it is the true story behind God’s two incarnations.” “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 work of redemption, 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; it is performed 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; He is a person whose identity is that of God, a complete human being, a complete flesh, who is performing the work” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God).
Almighty God’s word has revealed the significance and mystery of the incarnation. From reading Almighty God’s word we know that incarnation refers to God’s Spirit becoming clothed in flesh and turning into an ordinary and normal person to do the work of God Himself. The incarnate God must have normal humanity, must work and speak within normal humanity. Even when He performs miracles, they must be performed within normal humanity. In outward appearance, God incarnate appears normal. He seems to do His work like a normal, average human. If He didn’t have normal humanity and work in His normal humanity, He would not be the incarnation of God. The incarnation means God’s Spirit is realized in the flesh. Within normal humanity, He expresses the truth and does the work of God Himself, redeeming and saving mankind. This is the significance of the incarnation. Now what is the significance of God’s two incarnations? What is meant primarily is that God’s two incarnations have completed the significance of incarnation, accomplished the work of the Word appearing in the flesh and completed God’s management plan to save mankind. This is the significance of God’s two incarnations. We should all be clear the purpose of God’s first incarnation was to do the work of redemption and to pave the way for the work of judgment in the last days. So, God’s first incarnation did not complete the significance of the incarnation. The purpose of God’s second incarnation is to do the work of judgment in the last days and thoroughly wrest mankind from the grips of Satan, to relieve mankind of their satanic disposition, free them from the influence of Satan so that they may return to God and be gained by Him. Almighty God, Christ of the last days, has expressed the entirety of the truth to purify and save mankind, completed all the work of God in the flesh, and expressed all that God must express in His incarnate flesh. Let us read another two passages from Almighty God. Almighty God says: “God will use words to conquer the universe. He will do this not by His incarnate flesh, but through using the utterances from the mouth of God become flesh to conquer all people in the entire universe; only this is the Word become flesh, and only this is the appearance of the Word in the flesh. Perhaps, to humans, it appears as if God has not done much work—but God has but to utter His words, and they will be thoroughly convinced and awed. Without facts, people shout and scream; with the words of God, they fall silent. God will surely accomplish this fact, for this is God’s long-established plan: accomplishing the fact of the Word’s arrival on earth” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived). “This stage of work precisely fulfills 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 ‘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 in the final age, He makes even clearer the power and authority of His words, and allows man to see all of His ways—to hear all of His words. Such is the work of the final age. You must come to understand these things through and through. It is not a question of knowing the flesh, but of how you understand the flesh and the Word. This is the testimony that you must bear, that which everyone must know. 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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (4)). God’s two incarnations complete all the work of God in the flesh, that is, God’s work of complete salvation of man. So, in the future, God will not be incarnated again. There will be no third or fourth time. Because God’s work in the flesh has already been fully accomplished. This is what is meant by the statement that God has been incarnated twice to complete the significance of the incarnation.
God has been incarnated twice to complete the significance of the incarnation. For those who have yet to experience God’s work of judgment in the last days, this is difficult to understand. Those who only experienced the work of redemption in the Age of Grace know that the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God. But few understand that the Lord Jesus’ work was limited to redemption alone and He did not accomplish the work of the Word appearing in the flesh. Which is to say, the Lord Jesus did not express the entirety of the truth of the incarnate God’s complete salvation of mankind. So the Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (Jhn 16:12–13). Now the Lord Jesus has returned to the flesh as the Son of man. He is Almighty God, Christ of the last days. He is here doing the work of judgment beginning with God’s house, here expressing the entirety of truth which will purify and save mankind, the truth contained in “The Word Appears in the Flesh.” God incarnate speaks for the first time in God’s identity to the entire universe, proclaiming His word. He proclaims the details of God’s management plan to save mankind, He expresses God’s will, His demands toward all of mankind and man’s destination. Let’s see how Almighty God explains this. Almighty God says: “It is fair to say that this is the first time since the creation of the world that God has addressed all mankind. Never before has God spoken to created mankind in such detail and so systematically. Of course, this is also the first time He has spoken so much, and for so long, to all mankind. It is totally unprecedented. What’s more, these utterances form the first text expressed by God among mankind in which He exposes people, guides them, judges them, and speaks heart-to-heart to them and so, too, are they the first utterances in which God lets people know His footsteps, the place in which He lies, God’s disposition, what God has and is, God’s thoughts, and His concern for mankind. It can be said that these are the first utterances that God has spoken to mankind from the third heaven since the creation, and the first time that God has used His inherent identity to appear and express the voice of His heart to mankind amid words” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Introduction). “This is because I bring the end of mankind to the world, and from this point on, I lay bare My entire disposition before mankind, so that all who know Me and all those who do not may feast their eyes and see that I have indeed come to the human world, have come onto the earth where all things multiply. This is My plan, and My sole ‘confession’ since My creation of mankind. May you give your undivided attention to My every move, for My rod once again presses close to mankind, to all those who oppose Me” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination).
With regard to God’s two incarnations to complete the significance of the incarnation, there are those that just don’t get it, because they lack experience. When they hear of it, they just don’t understand. The truth of the incarnation is indeed profound, it takes several communions for people to understand. Now let’s go into the details of the work performed during God’s two incarnations. During God’s first incarnation, He performed the work of redemption, manifesting many miracles. He fed five thousand with just five loaves of bread and two fish. He calmed the wind and the waves with just a word. He resurrected Lazarus. Also, the Lord Jesus fasted and was tempted in the wilderness for forty days. He walked on the sea, etc. Because the Lord Jesus’ flesh performed miracles, and He was transfigured atop the mountain, in the eyes of us humans, though the Lord Jesus was incarnated in the flesh, He still possessed supernatural elements. He was different than the average man, miracles followed wherever He appeared. Also, the Lord Jesus did only one stage of the work, the work of redemption. He only expressed the truth of the work of redemption, mainly manifesting God’s disposition of compassion and love. He did not express all the truths of the work of judgment and salvation, and He did not express to man God’s righteous, holy and unoffendable disposition. So it cannot be said that the first incarnation completed the meaning of the incarnation. Just as Almighty God says: “The stage of work which Jesus performed only fulfilled the essence 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 that flesh. 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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (4)). God’s incarnation in the last days is different from the first incarnation. In the second incarnation, God has not performed miracles, He is not at all supernatural. In outward appearance He looks like a normal and ordinary human, doing His work and speaking His word practically and realistically among men. He has expressed the truth to judge, purify and perfect man. Almighty God has revealed all of the mysteries of God’s management plan, and manifested God’s righteous and holy disposition, all that God is and has, God’s will, and His demands of men. Also, He has judged and exposed man’s satanic nature and corrupt dispositions which resist God, and in so doing, conquered, perfected, exposed and eliminated man, each unto his own kind. God’s work of judgment in the last days is truly meaningful. All of the truth with which God endows man in the last days is expressed within the normal humanity of His flesh, there is nothing supernatural about it. All we see is a normal man speaking His word and doing His work, but the word which Christ speaks is all the truth. It has authority and power, it can purify and save man. From the word of Christ, which judges and exposes the truth and substance of man’s corruption, we see how God penetrates to the very core of man in His observation of him, how God has a thorough understanding of man. Man also comes to know God’s righteous, holy, and unoffendable disposition. From Christ’s admonishment and exhortation, we perceive God’s compassion and concern for man. From the many ways in which Christ speaks and works, we come to appreciate God’s almightiness and wisdom, the earnest intentions with which God works to save mankind, and God’s true love and salvation of man. From the way in which Christ treats all people, matters, and things, we come to understand how God’s pleasure, anger, sorrow, and happiness are all the realities of positive things, and how they are all the expression of God’s disposition and natural manifestations of the substance of God’s life. From Christ’s word and work, we see how God is supreme and great and how He is humble and hidden, we gain a true understanding and knowledge of God’s original disposition and true face, causing us to develop a thirst for the truth and reverence for God in our hearts, to truly love and obey God This is the effect of the word and work of God’s second incarnation on us. The word and work of God’s second incarnation not only allow man to see God become flesh but also allow them to see the fact of God’s word appearing in the flesh. God’s word accomplishes all things. This normal, average flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of truth. God incarnate is the truth, the way, and the life! He is the appearance of the only one true God! Only with the appearance and work of Almighty God has the significance of the incarnation been completed.
Let us read another two passages of Almighty God’s word, so that our understanding of this truth and mystery can become even clearer. “This stage of work precisely fulfills the inner meaning of ‘the Word becomes flesh,’ lent deeper meaning to ‘the Word was with God, and the Word was God’” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (4)). “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 essence 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—all of 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 pace of God’s work is 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 during 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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All Is Achieved by the Word of God).
After reading these passages of Almighty God’s word, I trust that everyone has a bit more understanding of how God’s two incarnations complete the significance of the incarnation! We are now aware of the fact that the work of God’s salvation of mankind is accomplished through the work of the incarnation. The stage of work which the Lord Jesus carried out was the work of redemption. The truth He expressed was very limited, so, having experienced the Lord Jesus’ work, our knowledge of God was still limited. Almighty God has come to do the work of judgment in the last days, and expressed the entirety of the truth of God’s righteous judgment of man’s corruption. This allows man to see God’s inherent disposition and know His righteous and holy substance. So, God incarnate in the last days has thoroughly completed God’s work in the flesh. He has expressed the entirety of the truth which God is meant to express in the flesh, thereby fulfilling the fact of the Word appearing in the flesh. This is how God’s two incarnations complete the meaning of the incarnation. God’s two incarnations are indispensable, and supplement and complement each other. So one cannot say that God can only be incarnated once, or that He will be incarnated three or four times. Because God’s two incarnations have already completed the work of God’s salvation of mankind, and expressed the entirety of the mankind-saving truth that God’s incarnations are meant to express. Thus, God’s two incarnations have completed the meaning of the incarnation.
—The movie script of The Mystery of Godliness: The Sequel