The work of God’s entire management plan is personally done by God Himself. The first stage—the creation of the world—was personally done by God Himself, and if it had not been, then no one would have been capable of creating mankind; the second stage was the redemption of all mankind, and it was also personally done by God Himself; the third stage goes without saying: There is an even greater need for the end of all God’s work to be done by God Himself. The work of redeeming, conquering, gaining, and perfecting the whole of mankind is all personally carried out by God Himself. If He did not personally do this work, then His identity could not be represented by man, or His work done by man. In order to defeat Satan, in order to gain mankind, and in order to give man a normal life on earth, He personally leads man and personally works among man; for the sake of His entire management plan, and for all of His work, He must personally do this work. If man only believes that God came to be seen by him and make him happy, then such beliefs hold no value, they have no significance. Man’s knowledge is too superficial! Only by carrying it out Himself can God do this work thoroughly and completely. Man is incapable of doing it on behalf of God. As he does not have God’s identity or His substance, he is incapable of doing His work, and even if man did, it would not have any effect. The first time God became flesh was for the sake of redemption, to redeem all mankind from sin, to make man capable of being cleansed and of being forgiven for his sins. The work of conquest is also personally done by God among man. If, during this stage, God were only to speak prophecy, then a prophet or someone gifted could be found to take His place; if only prophecy were spoken, man could stand in for God. Yet if man were to personally do the work of God Himself and were to work the life of man, it would be impossible for him to do this work. It must be personally done by God Himself: God must personally become flesh to do this work. In the Age of Word, if only prophecy were spoken, then Isaiah or Elijah the prophet could be found to do this work, and there would be no need for God Himself to do it personally. Because the work done in this stage is not merely the speaking of prophecy, and because it is of greater importance that the work of words is used to conquer man and defeat Satan, this work cannot be done by man, and must be personally done by God Himself. In the Age of Law Jehovah did part of God’s work, after which He spoke some words and did some work through the prophets. That is because man could stand in for the work of Jehovah, and the seers could foretell things and interpret some dreams on His behalf. The work done in the beginning was not the work of directly changing man’s disposition, and was unrelated to the sin of man, and man was required only to abide by the law. So Jehovah did not become flesh and reveal Himself to man; instead He spoke directly to Moses and others, made them speak and work on His behalf, and caused them to work directly among mankind. The first stage of God’s work was the leadership of man. It was the start of the battle with Satan, but this battle had yet to officially begin. The official war with Satan began with the first incarnation of God, and it has continued right up until today. The first instance of this war was when God incarnate was nailed to the cross. The crucifixion of God incarnate defeated Satan, and it was the first successful stage in the war. When God incarnate begins to directly work the life of man, this is the official start of the work of regaining man, and because this is the work of changing man’s old disposition, it is the work of doing battle with Satan. The stage of work done by Jehovah in the beginning was merely the leadership of man’s life on earth. It was the beginning of God’s work, and although it had yet to involve any battle, or any major work, it laid the foundation for the work of the battle to come. Later, the second stage of work during the Age of Grace involved changing man’s old disposition, which means that God Himself wrought the life of man. This had to be personally done by God: It required that God personally become flesh, and if He had not become flesh, no one else could have replaced Him in this stage of work, for it represented the work of fighting directly against Satan. If man had done this work on God’s behalf, when man stood before Satan, Satan would not have submitted and it would have been impossible to defeat it. It had to be God incarnate who came to defeat it, for the substance of God incarnate is still God, He is still the life of man, and He is still the Creator; whatever happens, His identity and substance will not change. And so, He put on the flesh and did the work to cause the complete submission of Satan. During the stage of work of the last days, if man were to do this work and were made to speak the words directly, then he would be unable to speak them, and if prophecy were spoken, then it would be incapable of conquering man. By assuming the flesh, God comes to defeat Satan and cause its complete submission. He utterly defeats Satan, fully conquers man, and completely gains man, after which this stage of work is completed, and success achieved. In God’s management, man cannot stand in for God. In particular, the work of leading the age and launching new work is in even greater need of being personally done by God Himself. Giving man revelation and providing him with prophecy can be done by man, but if it is work that must be personally done by God, work of the battle between God Himself and Satan, then this work cannot be done by man. During the first stage of work, when there was no battle with Satan, Jehovah personally led the people of Israel using the prophecy spoken by the prophets. Afterward, the second stage of work was the battle with Satan, and God Himself personally became flesh, coming into the flesh, to do this work. Anything that involves the battle with Satan also involves the incarnation of God, which means that this battle cannot be waged by man. If man were to do battle, he would be incapable of defeating Satan. How could he have the strength to fight against it whilst still under its domain? Man is in the middle: If you lean toward Satan you belong to Satan, but if you satisfy God you belong to God. Were man to stand in for God in the work of this battle, would he be able to? If he did, would he not have perished long ago? Would he not have entered into the netherworld long ago? And so, man is unable to replace God in His work, which is to say that man does not have the substance of God, and if you did battle with Satan you would be incapable of defeating it. Man can only do some work; he can win some people over, but he cannot stand in for God in the work of God Himself. How could man do battle with Satan? Satan would take you captive before you’d even started. Only God Himself can do battle with Satan, and upon this basis man can follow God and obey Him. Only in this way can man be gained by God and escape from the bonds of Satan. What man can achieve with his own wisdom, authority and abilities is too limited; he is incapable of making man complete, of leading him, and, moreover, of defeating Satan. Man’s intelligence and wisdom are unable to thwart the schemes of Satan, so how could man do battle with it?
Excerpted from The Word Appears in the Flesh