GOD PASSING THROUGH FIVE STEPS
God desires to dispense Himself into us. However, this is not so simple that it can be accomplished in one step. In order to do this, God had to pass through steps and processes beyond human imagination. He had to take at least five steps, and He had to complete some great accomplishments. The first step was incarnation. God became flesh, which was not a simple matter. The Creator of the universe, almighty God, has now become flesh! We must realize that in the Bible, the word “flesh” does not mean the untouched, undamaged man; rather, it refers to the fallen, defiled, and damaged man. This Triune God, the Creator of the universe, came in the likeness of such a man—in the likeness of the flesh of sin (Rom. 8:3)—through incarnation. No wonder the Bible says that He had “no form nor comeliness” (Isa. 53:2).
The second step of God’s process was His passing through human living. I often say that it took Him at most nine months to become incarnated, but His human living lasted for thirty-three and a half years. In particular, the first thirty years of His life were not a small thing. It was not a simple matter for the unlimited God, the Lord of all, to be in such a lowly Person, Jesus, on the earth in a small town, Nazareth, in the home of a carpenter for thirty years. Bible scholars seldom see this. I have listened to many ministries for many years, yet I have never heard anyone give a sermon on this subject.
The third step was His crucifixion. His death was not a common death, and it is difficult to explain. On the one hand, He was killed by man, as Peter testified, “And the Author of life you killed” (Acts 3:15a). But on the other hand, the Lord Himself said concerning His life, “No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself” (John 10:18a). Who could ever capture Him unless He was willing to die? In the garden of Gethsemane, the officials of the temple in Jerusalem came with soldiers to find Jesus, the Nazarene. When Jesus said, “I am,” they all drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:6). When Peter drew a sword and cut off the ear of the slave of the high priest, the Lord said, “Put the sword into the sheath” (John 18:11). This indicates that He was willing to give Himself up to man.
On the cross, He died a sevenfold death and terminated all the negative things in the universe, including sin, Satan, the world, the old creation, the old man, the flesh, and the ordinances of the law, which were against us. This is on the negative side. On the positive side, His all-inclusive death released the divine life that was in Him. This is like a flower seed which falls into the ground. Once it receives moisture, its outer shell begins to rot; this is a kind of death. When such a death occurs, the inner life of the seed begins to germinate. The more the shell dies, the more the inner life germinates. When the shell dies completely, the inner life’s germination will also be completed; thus a tender sprout will grow out. This shows that death releases life. Our Lord Jesus was such a seed sown into the ground. As His outward body was dying, His inner life was germinating (1 Pet. 3:18), allowing Him to come out of Hades and the tomb. This was His resurrection. In resurrection He took another form; that is, He became the Spirit of life. This Spirit of life is still He, but in a different form, just as the flower seed and the sprout are really one thing, but in two different stages.
The fourth step of His process was resurrection. When Christ entered into resurrection, He brought us also into resurrection (Eph. 2:5-6). At the same time, He also became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). Having passed through the four steps of incarnation, human living, crucifixion, and resurrection, He ascended to the heavens. It was not only the Lord of all, but the Man of Nazareth, who went to the throne in the heavens. How wonderful! Incarnation is God entering into man, and resurrection is man entering into God. While He was living the human life, it was God who was on the earth; when He ascended to the heavens, it was a Man who entered into the heavens. Hallelujah! God was on the earth for thirty-three and a half years; today a Man is in the heavens. Then it was God who was living on the earth; today it is a Man who is living in the heavens.
(The Full Knowledge of the Word of God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)