What Is Incarnation? What Is the Substance of the Incarnated Flesh?
The Relevant Words of Are as Follows:
“The first incarnate God lived upon the earth for thirty-three and a half years, yet He performed His ministry for only three and a half of those years. Both during the time He worked, and before He began His work, He was possessed of normal humanity. He inhabited His normal humanity for thirty-three and a half years. Throughout the last three and a half years He revealed Himself to be the incarnate God. Before He began performing His ministry, He appeared with ordinary, normal humanity, showing no sign of His divinity, and it was only after He began formally performing His ministry that His divinity was made manifest. His life and work during those first twenty-nine years all demonstrated that He was a genuine human being, a son of man, a flesh; for His ministry only began in earnest after the age of twenty-nine. The meaning of incarnation is that God appears in the flesh, and He comes to work among man of His creation in the image of a flesh. So, for God to be incarnated, He must first be flesh, flesh with normal humanity; this, at the very least, must be true. In fact, the implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man. His incarnate life and work can be divided into two stages. First is the life He lives before performing His ministry. He lives in an ordinary human family, in utterly normal humanity, obeying the normal morals and laws of human life, with normal human needs (food, clothing, shelter, sleep), normal human weaknesses, and normal human emotions. In other words, during this first stage He lives in non-divine, completely normal humanity, engaging in all the normal human activities. The second stage is the life He lives after beginning to perform His ministry. He still dwells in the ordinary humanity with a normal human shell, showing no outward sign of the supernatural. Yet He lives purely for the sake of His ministry, and during this time His normal humanity exists entirely in service of the normal work of His divinity; for by then His normal humanity has matured to the point of being able to perform His ministry. So the second stage of His life is to perform His ministry in His normal humanity, is a life both of normal humanity and of complete divinity. The reason that, during the first stage of His life, He lives in completely ordinary humanity is that His humanity is not yet equal to the entirety of the divine work, is not yet mature; only after His humanity grows mature, becomes capable of shouldering His ministry, can He set about performing His ministry. Since He, as flesh, needs to grow and mature, the first stage of His life is that of normal humanity, while in the second stage, because His humanity is capable of undertaking His work and performing His ministry, the life the incarnate God lives during His ministry is one of both humanity and complete divinity. If from the moment of His birth the incarnate God began His ministry in earnest, performing supernatural signs and wonders, then He would have no corporeal essence. Therefore, His humanity exists for the sake of His corporeal essence; there can be no flesh without humanity, and a person without humanity is not a human being. In this way, the humanity of God’s flesh is an intrinsic property of God’s incarnate flesh.”
from “The Essence of the ‘Flesh’ God Inhabits”
in The Word Appears in the Flesh
“Even after He begins to perform His ministry, His divinity still inhabits the human outer shell when He does His work; it is just that at the time, His humanity serves the sole purpose of allowing His divinity to perform the work in the normal flesh. So the agent of the work is the divinity inhabiting His humanity. It is His divinity, not His humanity, at work, yet it is a divinity hidden within His humanity; His work is in essence done by His complete divinity, not by His humanity. But the performer of the work is His flesh. One could say that He is a man and also is God, for God becomes a God living in the flesh, with a human shell and a human essence but also the essence of God. Because He is a man with the essence of God, He is above any of His human creations, above any man who can perform His work. And so, among all those with a human shell like His, among all those who possess humanity, only He is the incarnate God Himself—all others are His human creations. Though they all have humanity, His human creations are nothing but human, while God incarnate is different: In His flesh He not only has humanity but more importantly has divinity. His humanity can be seen in the outer appearance of His flesh and in His everyday life, but His divinity is difficult to perceive. Because His divinity is expressed only when He has humanity, and is not as supernatural as people imagine it to be, it is extremely difficult for people to see. Even today it is most difficult for people to fathom the true essence of the incarnate God. In fact, even after I have spoken about it at such length, I expect it is still a mystery to most of you. This issue is very simple: Since God becomes flesh, His essence is a combination of humanity and divinity. This combination is called God Himself, God Himself on earth.”
from “The Essence of the ‘Flesh’ God Inhabits”
in The Word Appears in the Flesh
“God comes to earth not to perfect his normal humanity, and he comes not to do the work of normal humanity, but just to do the work of divinity in his normal humanity. The normal humanity God speaks about is not the normal humanity as man imagines. According to man’s interpretation, ‘normal humanity’ means having a wife or husband and having children, with which one is proved to be a normal man. But God does not think so. The ‘normal humanity’ he thinks means having normal human thinking, having a normal human life, and being born of a normal man, but his being normal does not include having a wife or husband and having children, which man speaks about. That is, the ‘normal humanity’ God speaks about, in man’s eyes, means having no humanity, almost having no emotions, and seemingly having no physical needs, just like who had only the outer shell of a normal man and who took a normal human image but who in substance did not have all that a normal man should have. From these, it can be seen that in substance God incarnate does not have a complete normal humanity, that is, he only has part of the things a man should have so as to maintain his normal human rules of life and maintain his normal human sense. But these have nothing to do with the normal humanity man thinks, and they are what the incarnated flesh of God should have. However, some people say that only if the incarnated God has a wife, children, and a family does it mean that he has a normal humanity. They also say that if he does not have these, he is not a normal man. Then let me ask you, ‘Can God have a wife? Can God have a husband? Can God have children?’ Aren’t these fallacies? However, for God to be incarnated in the flesh, he cannot jump out of a rock or drop down from heaven, but can only be born into a family of a normal man. So he has parents and has sisters. This is what the incarnated God should have in his normal humanity. Take Jesus for example. He had parents and had sisters and brothers, which was normal. But if he had had a wife and had children, he would not have had the normal humanity of the incarnated God required by God. If that had been the case, he could not have worked on behalf of the divinity. Because he had no wife and no children but was born of a normal man and born into a family of a normal man, he could do the work of divinity. To put it more plainly, a ‘normal man’ God thinks is a man who is born into a normal family. Only such a man can have the qualifications to do the work of divinity. But if he had a wife, children, or a husband, he could not do the work of divinity. This is because he would only have the normal humanity required by ‘man’ but would not have the normal humanity required by ‘God.’ What God thinks is often greatly different from man’s knowledge, far different from it.”
from “The Differences in Substance Between the Incarnated God and the Men Used by God”
in The Word Appears in the Flesh
“The Christ with normal humanity is a flesh in which the Spirit is realized, possessing normal humanity, normal rationality, and human thought. ‘Being realized’ means God becoming man, the Spirit becoming flesh; to put it plainly, it is when God Himself inhabits a flesh with normal humanity, and through it expresses His divine work—this is what it means to be ‘realized,’ or incarnated.”
from “The Essence of the ‘Flesh’ God Inhabits”
in The Word Appears in the Flesh
“The flesh God’s Spirit is clothed with is God’s own flesh. God’s Spirit is supreme, and God’s Spirit is almighty, holy, and righteous. So his flesh is also supreme and is also almighty, holy, and righteous. Such a flesh can only do righteous things, do things beneficial to mankind, and do holy, splendid, and great things. He cannot possibly do things that go against the truth or go against morality and justice, much less do things of betraying God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit is holy, so his flesh cannot be corrupted by satan. His flesh is a flesh who has different substance from man’s. Because the one satan corrupts is man, not God, and satan cannot possibly corrupt God’s own flesh….”
from “A Very Serious Problem—Betrayal (2)”
in The Word Appears in the Flesh
(A Selected Piece of God’s Word)
The Substance of Christ Is Obeying the Will of the Heavenly Father
The incarnated God is called Christ. Christ is the flesh the Spirit of God is clothed with, and this flesh is different from any fleshly man. The difference is because Christ is not of flesh but is the embodiment of the Spirit. He has a normal humanity and full divinity, and his divinity is something that no man has. His normal humanity is for maintaining all his normal activities in the flesh, and his divinity is for doing God’s own work. Both his humanity and his divinity obey the will of the heavenly Father. The substance of Christ is Spirit, that is, divinity, so his substance is the substance of God Godself. This substance will not disrupt his own work, and he cannot possibly do anything that demolishes his own work or say anything that goes against his own will. So, the incarnated God will by no means do any work that disrupts his own management. This is what everyone should be clear about. The ’s work in substance is for saving man and for the sake of God’s own management. Likewise, Christ’s work is also for saving man and for the sake of God’s will. Since God is incarnated in the flesh, he realizes all his substance in his flesh, so that his flesh can be adequate to undertake his work. Thus, during the period of incarnation, Christ’s work replaces all the work of God’s Spirit; and Christ’s work is the center of the work of the whole period of incarnation, and no work of any other age can be mixed in it. Since God is incarnated in the flesh, he works as the flesh. Since he comes into the flesh, he will complete in the flesh the work he ought to do. Whether he is God’s Spirit or Christ, he is God Godself, and he will do the work he ought to do and perform the ministry he ought to perform.
God’s substance is with authority, but he can obey all the authority from him. Whether it be the work of the Spirit or the work of the flesh, they are not contradictory. God’s Spirit is the authority over all things, and the flesh that has God’s substance also has authority. But the God in the flesh can do all the works of obeying the will of the heavenly Father. This is beyond anyone’s capacity and is beyond anyone’s imagination. God Godself is authority, but his flesh can obey his authority. This is the inner meaning of “Christ obeys the will of God the Father.” When God is Spirit, he can do the work of salvation. When God becomes a man, he can also do the work of salvation. In any case, God Godself does his own work. He does not disrupt or disturb it, much less do any contradictory works, because the substance of the works done by the Spirit and by the flesh is the same, and both the Spirit and the flesh are for fulfilling one will and are managing one work. Although the Spirit and the flesh have two unconnected attributes, their substance is the same, and they both have the substance of God Godself and the identity of God Godself. God Godself has no element of disobedience. God’s substance is good, and he is the expression of all beauty and good and the expression of all love. Even the God in the flesh will not do anything that disobeys God the Father. Even if he has to lay down his life, he will be most willing and will not have any choice. God has no element of self-rightness and self-importance, no element of arrogance and self-conceit, and no element of crookedness. All those things that disobey God come from satan. Satan is the source of all ugliness and evil. The reason why man has the same attributes as satan is that man has been corrupted and processed by satan. Christ is not corrupted by satan, so he has only God’s attributes and does not have satan’s attributes. When God lives in the flesh, no matter how difficult the work is or how weak the flesh is, he will not do anything that disrupts his own work, much less give up the will of God the Father and disobey, and he would rather suffer in the flesh than act against the will of God the Father, just as Jesus prayed, “O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.” Man has his own choice, but Christ does not have his own choice. Although he has the identity of God Godself, he still seeks the will of God the Father in the position of the flesh and carries out the commission of God the Father in the position of the flesh. This is beyond man’s capacity. Those from satan cannot have God’s substance and they only have the substance of disobeying and resisting God. They cannot obey God completely, much less obey God’s will willingly. All those other than Christ can do things that resist God, and none of them can directly undertake the work committed by God, and none can carry out God’s management as the duty he should perform. Obeying the will of God the Father is Christ’s substance, and disobeying God is satan’s attribute. These two attributes are incompatible with each other. Anyone who has satan’s attribute cannot be called Christ. The reason why man cannot do God’s work in his stead is that man does not have God’s substance at all. Man works for God for his own benefit and for his future prospects, but Christ works for the carrying out of the will of God the Father.
Christ’s humanity is governed by his divinity. Although he is in the flesh, his humanity is not completely the same as that of a fleshly man. He has his particular character, and this character is also governed by his divinity. His divinity has no weakness. Christ’s weakness spoken of is with respect to his humanity. This weakness limits his divinity in some degree, but within a scope and within a limited time, not without limitation. When the work of his divinity ought to be done, it will be done regardless of his humanity. Christ’s humanity is completely directed by his divinity. Apart from the normal life of his humanity, all the other activities of his humanity are influenced and edified by his divinity and directed by his divinity. The reason why Christ has humanity but it does not disturb the work of his divinity is that his humanity is directed by his divinity. Although this humanity is a humanity that is immature in dealing with the world, this does not affect the normal work of his divinity. To say that Christ’s humanity is not corrupted means that his humanity can be directly directed by his divinity and has a sense higher than that of any ordinary man. His humanity is a humanity that is most suitable for divinity to direct in working, a humanity that can best express the work of divinity, and a humanity that can best obey the work of divinity. When God works in the flesh, he does not lose the duty he should perform as a man in the flesh, and he can worship the God in heaven with a true heart. He has God’s substance, and his identity is the identity of God Godself. It is only that he comes to earth and becomes a created being, having the outer shell of a created being and having a humanity which he originally does not have. He can worship the God in heaven, and this is the being of God Godself, which no man can imitate. His identity is God Godself. When he worships God, he does so in the position of the flesh. So the word “Christ worships the God in heaven” is not wrong. What he requires of man is his very being. Before he requires it of man, he has already lived up to it. He will by no means only require it of others but be “free from it” himself, because all this is his being. No matter how he works, he will not have any deeds of disobeying God. No matter what he requires of man, it will not be beyond man’s capacity. All that he does is carrying out God’s will and is for the sake of his management. Christ’s divinity is above all men, so he is the highest authority among created beings. This authority is divinity, which is God’s own disposition and being. It is this disposition and being that determines his identity. So, no matter how normal his humanity is, it cannot be denied that he has the identity of God Godself; and no matter in which position he speaks and no matter how he obeys God’s will, it cannot be said that he is not God Godself. Those foolish and ignorant people often consider Christ’s normal humanity to be his defect. No matter how he displays and manifests the being of his divinity, they cannot acknowledge that he is Christ. Moreover, the more Christ displays his obedience and humbleness, the more the foolish people despise Christ. Some even take an excluding and disdainful attitude toward Christ but enshrine on their tables the “great men” who have lofty images. The root of people’s resisting and disobeying God lies in the fact that the substance of God’s incarnated flesh is obeying God’s will and lies in Christ’s normal humanity. These are the root of their resisting and disobeying God. If Christ were without the cover of his humanity and did not seek the will of God the Father in the position of a created being but had a transcendent humanity, then probably no one would disobey. People always like to believe in the invisible God in heaven, because the God in heaven does not have humanity and does not have any attribute of a created being. So they always regard the God in heaven with special esteem but always hold a disdainful attitude toward Christ.
When Christ comes to earth, although he can work on behalf of God Godself, his purpose in coming to earth is not to let people see the image of his flesh. His purpose is not to let people see him but to let them have his personal leading and thus enter into the new age. The function of Christ’s flesh is for God’s own work, that is, for God’s work in the flesh, not for people to fully know the substance of his flesh. No matter what work he does, it is not beyond the capacity of his flesh. No matter what work he does, he does it in the flesh that has a normal humanity. He does not show God’s real image completely to people, and the work his flesh does is never so supernatural or immeasurable as people imagine. Although in the flesh Christ represents God Godself and personally does the work God Godself ought to do, he does not deny the existence of the God in heaven and does not widely proclaim his own deeds but humbly hides himself in the flesh. Those other than Christ who claim to be Christ do not have Christ’s attributes at all. By making a comparison with the arrogant and self-exalting disposition of the false christs, you will know what kind of flesh is Christ. The more a person is a false christ, the more he will exhibit himself, and the more he will perform signs and wonders to deceive people. He who is a false christ does not have God’s attributes, and he who is Christ does not have any element of a false christ. God is incarnated only for the purpose of completing his work in the flesh and not just for people to see him. He lets his work prove his identity and lets his manifestation prove his substance. His substance is not spoken about without a basis, and his identity is not usurped by himself but is determined by his work and his substance. Although he has the substance of God Godself and can do the work of God Godself, after all he is the flesh different from the Spirit, and he is not the God with the attributes of the Spirit but the God with the outer shell of the flesh. So, no matter how normal and weak he is and no matter how he seeks the will of God the Father, you cannot deny his divinity. In the incarnated God there exist not only the normal humanity and the normal human weaknesses, but even more the wonderfulness and unfathomableness of divinity and all his deeds in the flesh. So, in Christ both humanity and divinity exist practically, which are not at all empty or supernatural. His main purpose in coming to earth is to work. To work on earth, he has to possess a normal humanity. Otherwise, no matter how great the power of his divinity is, it cannot perform its original function. Although his humanity is very important, his humanity is not his substance. His substance is divinity. So, when he begins to perform his ministry on earth, he begins to express the being of his divinity. His humanity is only for maintaining the normal life of his flesh so that his divinity can do his work normally in the flesh. But that which directs the work is completely his divinity. When he has completed his work, he will have fulfilled his ministry. What people should know is all his work, and through his work, he causes people to know him. In the course of his working, he expresses the being of his divinity very completely, which is not the disposition mixed with humanity and is not the being mixed with thinking and human doing. When all his ministry has ended, he will have completely and perfectly expressed all the disposition he ought to express. His work is not instructed by anyone. And the expression of his disposition is very free, which is not directed by his mind or processed by his thinking but is a natural manifestation. This is beyond anyone’s capacity. Even if the circumstances are adverse or the conditions do not permit, he can express his disposition at the proper time. He who is Christ will express the being of Christ, and he who is not Christ does not have the disposition of Christ. So, although people all resist him or have notions about him, no one can, because of his notions, deny that the disposition Christ expresses is the disposition of God. All those who genuinely pursue Christ and all those who have a mind to seek God will acknowledge that he is Christ because of the expression of his divinity, and will by no means deny Christ because of his certain aspect that does not fit their notions. Although people are all very foolish, they all know what is of man’s will and what is from God. It is only that many people deliberately resist Christ because of their own intents. If this were not so, no one would have reason to deny the existence of Christ, for the divinity expressed by Christ indeed exists and the work done by him can be seen by everyone’s physical eyes.
Christ’s work and Christ’s expression determine his substance. He can carry out the commission on his shoulders with a true heart, he can worship the God in heaven with a true heart, and he can seek the will of God the Father with a true heart. All these are determined by his substance. All his natural manifestation is also determined by his substance. The reason why it is called natural manifestation is that what he expresses is not imitation, not the result of man’s education, not the result of years of man’s training, not something acquired by himself, and not something he adorns himself with, but something he originally has. People may deny his work, deny his expression, deny his humanity, and deny all his life in his normal humanity, but no one can deny that he worships the God in heaven with a true heart, no one can deny that he comes to accomplish the will of the heavenly Father, and no one can deny his earnest heart to seek God the Father. Although his appearance is not pleasing to the eye, although his speaking is not in an extraordinary manner, and although his work is not so earth-shaking or heaven-shaking as people imagine, nevertheless he is indeed the Christ who fulfills the will of the heavenly Father with a true heart and who completely obeys the heavenly Father and obeys even unto death, because his substance is Christ’s substance. This is a fact that is hard for anyone to believe but that indeed exists. After Christ has fulfilled all his ministry, people will be able to see from his work that his disposition and his being represent the disposition and the being of the God in heaven. At that time, considering all the work he has done, people will be able to ascertain that he is the “flesh” that the “Word” becomes and not a flesh that is the same as a fleshly man. Each step of work Christ does on earth has its representative significance, but those who experience each step of his realistic work cannot see clearly the significance of his work. This is especially true with the several steps of works done by the second incarnated flesh. Most of those who only hear Christ’s word or see Christ’s word but have not seen Christ do not have notions about his work, while those who see Christ, hear his word, and experience his work find it hard to accept his work. Isn’t this because Christ’s outward appearance and his normal humanity cannot fit man’s taste? Those who accept Christ’s work after he has left will not have these difficulties, because they will only accept his work but will not contact his normal humanity. People cannot drop their notions about God and try hard to study him, and this is all because they only look at his outward appearance but cannot know his substance through his work and word. If people all shut their eyes and do not look at Christ’s outward appearance, or avoid talking about his humanity but only talk about his divinity, his work or word, which is beyond anyone’s capacity, then their notions will be half fewer than before, and even all their difficulties will be resolved. Even during the period when the incarnated God does his work, people cannot bear him and have numerous notions about him, and things of resisting and disobeying him are a common occurrence. People cannot bear God’s existence, cannot “tolerate” Christ’s humbleness and hiddenness, and cannot “forgive” Christ’s substance of obeying the heavenly Father. So, after he finishes his work, he cannot stay with people forever, because they are not willing to let him live with them. Even during the period when he does his work, people cannot “tolerate” him. How much less if he lives with them and sees them progressively experience his word after he has fulfilled his ministry? If so, wouldn’t many people “stumble” because of him? People only allow him to work on earth, and this is already their greatest tolerance. If it were not for his work, people would have long banished him from the earth. How much worse would it be after he has finished his work? Wouldn’t they execute him, and wouldn’t they torment him to death alive? If he were not called Christ, he could not possibly work among people. If he did not work with the identity of God Godself but only worked as a normal man, people would simply not allow him to speak a word, much less allow him to do any work. So he has to work with his identity, which is more powerful than his working without his identity, for people all like to obey “position” and “high status.” If he did not work with the identity of God Godself or appear as God Godself, he would not have any opportunity to work. Although he has God’s substance, and although he has Christ’s being, people would not be loose with him and let him work among them easily. Although it is dozens of times more powerful for him to work with the identity of God Godself than to work without the identity of God Godself, people still cannot completely obey him, for what they obey is only his position but not his substance. So, if one day Christ “takes a back seat,” will people allow him to live for one day then? God is willing to live with people on earth so that he can see the results that the work he has personally done will produce several years later, but no one allows him to stay for one more day, so he has to give up. People can allow him to do among them the work he ought to do and allow him to finish his ministry, and this is already a great tolerance and a greatest honor. Although those who have been conquered by him personally have shown him such a great honor, they only allow him to stay until he finishes his work, and after that they will not allow him to stay for one more moment. Then, what about those who have not been conquered by him? Isn’t it precisely because the incarnated God is the Christ who has the outer shell of normal humanity that people treat him in such a way? If he only had divinity but did not have the normal humanity, wouldn’t people’s difficulties all be easily resolved? People all reluctantly acknowledge his divinity but show no interest in his outer shell of normal humanity, though his substance is exactly Christ’s substance of obeying the will of the heavenly Father. So he has to cancel the “work” of “sharing joys and sufferings with people among them,” because they cannot tolerate his existence any longer.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh