Many are the years that the Spirit of God has been searching as He works on earth, and many are those whom God has used to perform His work throughout the ages. Yet for all this time, God’s Spirit has been without a suitable resting place, which is why God switches among different people to do His work. All told, it is through people that His work is done. Which is to say, for all these years, God’s work has never stopped, but it has continued to be carried forward in people, all the way to today. Although God has spoken so many words and done so much work, man still does not know God, all because God has never appeared to man and also because He has no tangible form. And so God must bring this work—the work of causing all men to know the practical significance of the practical God—to completion. To achieve this end, God must reveal His Spirit tangibly to humanity and perform His work in their midst. That is, only when God’s Spirit assumes physical form, puts on flesh and bone, and visibly walks among people, accompanying them in their lives, sometimes showing and sometimes hiding Himself, only then are people able to arrive at a deeper understanding of Him. If God only remained in the flesh, He would not be able to complete His work in its entirety. And after working in the flesh for a period of time, fulfilling the ministry that needs to be done in the flesh, God will depart the flesh and work in the spiritual realm in the image of the flesh, just as Jesus did so after He had worked for a period of time in normal humanity and completed all the work that He needed to complete. You may remember this passage from “The Path … (5)”: “I remember My Father saying to Me, ‘On earth, seek only to do Your Father’s will and complete His commission. Nothing else concerns You.’” What do you see in this passage? When God comes to the earth, He does only His work within divinity, which is what the heavenly Spirit has entrusted to the incarnate God. When He comes, He but speaks across the land, to give voice to His utterances by different means and from different perspectives. He chiefly takes supplying man and teaching man as His goals and working principle, and does not concern Himself with such things as interpersonal relationships or the details of people’s lives. His main ministry is to speak for the Spirit. That is, when God’s Spirit appears tangibly in the flesh, He only provides for man’s life and releases the truth. He does not involve Himself in man’s work, which is to say, He does not partake in the work of humanity. Humans cannot do divine work, and God does not partake in human work. In all the years since God came to this earth to perform His work, He has always done it through people. These people, however, cannot be considered God incarnate—only those who are used by God. The God of today, meanwhile, can speak directly from the perspective of divinity, sending forth the Spirit’s voice and working on behalf of the Spirit. All those whom God has used throughout the ages are, likewise, instances of God’s Spirit working within a fleshly body—so why can’t they be called God? But today’s God is also God’s Spirit working directly in the flesh, and Jesus too was God’s Spirit working in the flesh; both of Them are called God. So what’s the difference? The people that God has used throughout the ages have all been capable of normal thought and reason. They have all understood the principles of human conduct. They have had normal human ideas, and have been possessed of all the things that ordinary people should possess. Most of them have had exceptional talent and innate intelligence. In working upon these people, God’s Spirit harnesses their talents, which are their God-given gifts. God’s Spirit brings their talents into play, using their strengths in God’s service. Yet the substance of God is without ideas or thought, unadulterated with human intentions, and even lacks what normal humans possess. Which is to say, He is not even conversant with the principles of human conduct. This is how it is when today’s God comes to the earth. His work and His words are unadulterated with human intentions or human thought, but they are a direct manifestation of the intentions of the Spirit, and He works directly on God’s behalf. This means that the Spirit directly speaks, that is, the divinity directly does the work, without mixing in even one bit of man’s intentions. In other words, the incarnate God embodies divinity directly, is without human thought or ideas, and has no understanding of the principles of human conduct. If only divinity were at work (meaning if only God Himself were at work), there would be no way for God’s work to be carried out on earth. So when God comes to earth, He must have a small number of people He uses to work within humanity in conjunction with the work that God does in divinity. In other words, He uses human work to uphold His divine work. If not, there would be no way for man to directly engage with the divine work. This is how it was with Jesus and His disciples. During His time in the world, Jesus abolished the old laws and established new commandments. He also spoke many words. All this work was done in divinity. The others, such as Peter, Paul, and John, all rested their subsequent work on the foundation of Jesus’ words. Which is to say, God launched His work in that age, ushering in the beginning of the Age of Grace; that is, He ushered in a new era, abolishing the old, and also fulfilling the words, “God is the Beginning and the End.” In other words, man must perform human work upon the foundation of divine work. Once Jesus had said all He needed to say and finished His work on earth, He left man. After this, all people, in working, did so according to the principles expressed in His words, and practiced according to the truths of which He spoke. All of these people worked for Jesus. If it had been Jesus alone doing the work, no matter how many words He spoke, people would have had no means of engaging with His words, because He was working in divinity and could only speak words of divinity, and He could not have explained things to the point where ordinary people could understand His words. And so He had to have the apostles and prophets who came after Him supplement His work. This is the principle of how God incarnate does His work—using the incarnate flesh to speak and to work so as to complete the work of divinity, and then using a few, or perhaps more, people after God’s own heart to supplement His work. That is, God uses people after His heart to do the work of shepherding and watering in humanity so that all people may attain the truth.
If, when He came to the flesh, God only did the work of divinity, and there were no people after His heart to work in concert with Him, then man would be incapable of understanding God’s will or engaging with God. God must use normal people who are after His heart to complete this work, to watch over and shepherd the churches, so that the level that man’s cognitive processes, his brain, are capable of imagining can be achieved. In other words, God uses a small number of people who are after His heart to “translate” the work that He does within His divinity, so that it can be opened up—to transform divine language into human language, so that people can comprehend and understand it. If God did not do so, no one would understand God’s divine language, because the people after God’s heart are, after all, a small minority, and man’s ability to comprehend is weak. That is why God chooses this method only when working in the incarnate flesh. If there were only divine work, there would be no way for man to know or engage with God, because man does not understand God’s language. Man is able to understand this language only through the agency of the people after God’s heart, who clarify His words. However, if there were only such people working within humanity, that could only maintain man’s normal life; it could not transform man’s disposition. God’s work could not have a new starting point; there would only be the same old songs, the same old platitudes. Only through the agency of the incarnate God, who says all that needs to be said and does all that needs to be done during the period of His incarnation, after which people work and experience according to His words, only thus will their life disposition be able to change, and only thus will they be able to flow with the times. He who works within divinity represents God, while those who work within humanity are people used by God. Which is to say, the incarnate God is substantively different from the people used by God. The incarnate God is able to do the work of divinity, whereas the people used by God are not. At the beginning of each age, God’s Spirit speaks personally and launches the new era to bring man into a new beginning. When He has finished speaking, this signifies that God’s work within His divinity is done. Thereafter, people all follow the lead of those used by God to enter into their life experience. By the same token, this is also the stage in which God brings man into the new age and gives people a new starting point—at which time God’s work in the flesh concludes.
God does not come to the earth to perfect His normal humanity, nor to perform the work of normal humanity. He comes only to do the work of divinity in normal humanity. What God speaks of normal humanity is not as people imagine. Man defines “normal humanity” as having a wife, or a husband, and sons and daughters, which are proof that one is a normal person; God, however, does not see it this way. He sees normal humanity as having normal human thoughts, normal human lives, and being born of normal people. But His normalcy does not include having a wife, or a husband, and children in the way that man speaks about normalcy. That is, to man, the normal humanity that God speaks of is what man would consider the absence of humanity, almost lacking in emotion and seemingly devoid of fleshly needs, just like Jesus, who had only the exterior of a normal person and took on the appearance of a normal person, but in essence did not entirely possess all that a normal person should possess. From this it can be seen that the incarnate God’s substance does not encompass the entirety of normal humanity, but only a portion of the things which people should possess, in order to support the routines of normal human life and sustain normal human powers of reason. But these things have nothing to do with what man considers normal humanity. They are what God incarnate should possess. There are those who maintain, however, that God incarnate can be said to possess normal humanity only if He has a wife, sons and daughters, a family; without these things, they say, He is not a normal person. I ask you then, “Does God have a wife? Is it possible for God to have a husband? Can God have children?” Are these not fallacies? Yet the incarnate God cannot spring from a crack between rocks or fall down from the sky. He can only be born into a normal human family. That is why He has parents and sisters. These are the things that the normal humanity of the incarnate God should have. Such was the case with Jesus; Jesus had a father and mother, sisters and brothers, and all this was normal. But if He had had a wife and sons and daughters, then His would not have been the normal humanity that God intended for the God incarnate to possess. If this were the case, He would not have been able to work on behalf of divinity. It was precisely because He did not have a wife or children, and yet was born of normal people into a normal family, that He was able to do the work of divinity. To clarify this further, what God considers a normal person is a person born into a normal family. Only such a person is qualified to do divine work. If, on the other hand, the person had a wife, children, or a husband, that person would not be able to do divine work, because they would possess only the normal humanity that humans require but not the normal humanity that God requires. That which is deemed by God, and what people understand, are often hugely different, leagues apart. In this stage of God’s work there is much that runs counter to and vastly differs from people’s notions. One could say that this stage of God’s work consists entirely of divinity working hands-on, with humanity playing a supporting role. Because God comes to the earth to perform His work Himself, rather than allowing man to put his hand to it, He incarnates Himself in the flesh (in an incomplete, normal person) to do His work. He uses this incarnation to present mankind with a new age, to tell mankind of the next step in His work, and to ask people to practice in accordance with the path described in His words. Thus is God’s work in the flesh concluded; He is about to depart mankind, no longer residing in the flesh of normal humanity, but rather moving away from man to proceed upon another part of His work. Then, using people after His own heart, He continues His work on earth among this group of people, but in their humanity.
The incarnate God cannot stay with man forever because God has a lot more other work to do. He cannot be bound to the flesh; He has to shed the flesh to do the work He must do, even though He does that work in the image of the flesh. When God comes to the earth, He does not wait until He has reached the form that a normal person ought to attain before dying and leaving mankind. No matter how old His flesh is, when His work is finished, He goes and leaves man. There is no such thing as age for Him, He does not count His days according to the human lifespan; instead, He ends His life in the flesh in accordance with the steps of His work. There may be those who feel that God, in coming into the flesh, must age to a certain extent, must grow into an adult, reach old age, and leave only when that body fails. This is man’s imagination; God does not work thus. He comes into the flesh only to do the work He is supposed to do, and not to live an ordinary man’s life of being born to parents, growing up, forming a family and starting a career, having and raising children, or experiencing life’s ups and downs—all the activities of an ordinary man. When God comes to earth, this is God’s Spirit putting on the flesh, coming into the flesh, but God does not live the life of an ordinary person. He only comes to accomplish one part in His management plan. After that He will leave mankind. When He comes into the flesh, God’s Spirit does not perfect the normal humanity of the flesh. Rather, at a time that God has predetermined, the divinity goes to work directly. Then, after doing all that He needs to do and fully completing His ministry, the work of God’s Spirit in this stage is done, at which point the life of the incarnate God also ends, regardless of whether His fleshly body has lived out its span of longevity. That is to say, whatever stage of life the fleshly body reaches, however long it lives on earth, everything is decided by the work of the Spirit. It has nothing to do with what man considers to be normal humanity. Take Jesus as an example. He lived in the flesh for thirty-three and a half years. In terms of the lifespan of a human body, He should not have died at that age, and He should not have left. But this was of no concern to God’s Spirit. His work being finished, at that point the body was taken away, disappearing along with the Spirit. This is the principle by which God works in the flesh. And so, strictly speaking, God incarnate is without normal humanity. To reiterate, He comes to the earth not to live the life of an ordinary human being. He does not first establish a normal human life and then begin working. Rather, as long as He is born into a normal human family, He is able to do divine work, work that is unblemished by man’s intentions, that is not fleshly, that certainly does not adopt the ways of society or involve man’s thoughts or notions, and, moreover, that is unconnected to man’s philosophies for living. This is the work that God incarnate intends to do, and it is also the practical significance of His incarnation. God comes into the flesh primarily to do a stage of the work that needs to be done in the flesh, without undergoing other trivial processes, and, as for the experiences of an ordinary man, He does not have them. The work that God’s incarnate flesh needs to do does not include normal human experiences. So God comes into the flesh for the sake of accomplishing the work He needs to accomplish in the flesh. The rest has nothing to do with Him; He does not go through so many trivial processes. Once His work is done, the significance of His incarnation also ends. Finishing this stage means the work that He needs to do in the flesh has concluded, and the ministry of His flesh is complete. But He cannot keep working in the flesh indefinitely. He has to move on to another place to work, a place outside of the flesh. Only thus can His work be performed fully, and advance to greater effect. God works according to His original plan. What work He needs to do and what work He has concluded, He knows as clearly as the palm of His hand. God leads every individual to walk a path that He has already predetermined. No one can escape this. Only those who follow the guidance of God’s Spirit will be able to enter into rest. It may be that, in later work, it will not be God speaking in the flesh to guide man, but a Spirit with tangible form guiding man’s life. Only then will man be able concretely to touch God, look upon God, and better enter into the reality God requires, so as to become perfected by the practical God. This is the work that God intends to accomplish, and what He planned long ago. From this, you should all see the path you should take!
(“The Essential Difference Between the Incarnate God and the People Used by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh)