Question 17: You give testimony that the Lord has returned in the flesh to express the truth and do the work of judgment and purification of man in the last days, but the religious pastors and elders believe that He will return coming with clouds, and that all believers will instantly change form and be raptured up into the clouds to meet with the Lord. Just as Paul said: “For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phl 3:20–21). The Lord is almighty and there is nothing He cannot do. God can transform us and make us purified with a single word, so why would He still need to become flesh to express the truth and carry out a stage of work of the judgment and purification of man?
Each stage of God’s work is unfathomable to us humans. Nor could humanity decipher God’s prophecies until they are fulfilled. What does it mean to us? It means that God’s wisdom and almightiness is unfathomable. In the Age of Grace when the Lord Jesus appeared to work, no one of us humans could fathom it. In the Age of Kingdom when Almighty God does judgment work in the last days, no one could predict it either. Therefore, God being incarnated to express the truth and do judgment work in the last days is inconceivable to mankind. After the work of God is completed and the great disasters arrive, mankind will feel that God’s words are fulfilled. It will be too late for regrets. They can only mourn and grind their teeth in disasters. Pertaining to how God does the work of judgment in the last days to cleanse and save people, how to make a group of overcomers—the firstfruits, we will understand it much better after reading these passages of the words of Almighty God.
Almighty God says, “You should be able to see the will of God, and should see that the work of God is not as simple as the creation of the heavens and earth and all things. That is because the work of today is the transformation of those who have been corrupted, who are numb to the utmost degree, it is to purify those who were created but altered by Satan. It is not the creation of Adam or Eve, still less is it the creation of the light, or the creation of every plant and animal. God makes pure the things that have been corrupted by Satan and then gains them anew; they become things that belong to Him, and they become His glory. This is not as man imagines, it is not as simple as the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them, or the work of cursing Satan to the bottomless pit; rather, it is the work of transforming man, turning things that are negative, and do not belong to Him, into things that are positive, and do belong to Him. This is the truth behind this stage of God’s work. You must understand this, and avoid oversimplifying matters. The work of God is unlike any ordinary work. Its wonderfulness and wisdom are beyond the mind of man. God does not create all things during this stage of work, but nor does He destroy them. Instead, He transforms all the things He created, and purifies all the things that have been defiled by Satan. And thus does God embark upon a great enterprise, which is the entire significance of the work of God. Is the work of God that you see in these words really so simple?” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The flesh of man has been corrupted by Satan, and most deeply blinded, and profoundly harmed. The most fundamental reason why God works personally in the flesh is because the object of His salvation is man, who is of the flesh, and because Satan also uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God. The battle with Satan is actually the work of conquering man, and at the same time, man is also the object of God’s salvation. In this way, the work of God incarnate is essential. Satan corrupted the flesh of man, and man became the embodiment of Satan, and became the object to be defeated by God. In this way, the work of doing battle with Satan and saving mankind occurs on earth, and God must become human in order to do battle with Satan. This is work of the utmost practicality” (“Corrupt Mankind Needs Salvation by the Incarnate God Most of All” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Earliest mankind was in the hands of God, but because of Satan’s temptation and corruption, man was bound up by Satan and fell in the hands of the evil one. Thus, Satan became the object to be defeated in the work of God’s management. Because Satan took possession of man, and because man is the stock of all God’s management, if man is to be saved, then he must be snatched back from the hands of Satan, which is to say that man must be taken back after having been held captive by Satan. Thus, Satan must be defeated through changes in man’s old disposition, changes which restore his original sense, and in this way, man, who has been taken captive, can be snatched back from the hands of Satan. If man is freed from the influence and bondage of Satan, Satan will be shamed, man will ultimately be taken back, and Satan will be defeated. And because man has been freed from the dark influence of Satan, man will become the spoils of all of this battle, and Satan will become the object that will be punished once this battle has finished, after which the entire work of mankind’s salvation will have been completed” (“Restoring the Proper Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In the work of the last days, the word is mightier than the manifestation of signs and wonders, and the authority of the word surpasses that of signs and wonders. The word exposes all the corrupt dispositions buried deep in the heart of man. You have no way of recognizing them on your own. When they are laid bare before you through the word, you will naturally come to discover them; you will not be able to deny them, and you will be utterly convinced. Is this not the authority of the word? This is the result achieved by the work of the word today. Therefore, it is not through the healing of sickness and casting out of demons that man can be fully saved from his sins, nor can he be fully made complete by the manifestation of signs and wonders. The authority to heal sickness and cast out demons only gives man grace, but the flesh of man still belongs to Satan and the corrupt satanic disposition still remains within man. In other words, that which has not been made clean still belongs to sin and to filth. Only after he has been made clean through the agency of the word can he be gained by God and become a sanctified man. … By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading the words of Almighty God, we see there is truth and mystery behind God’s incarnation in the last days in expressing the truth and doing judgment work to cleanse and perfect man instead of transforming us with one phrase. The way that God cleanses and makes man perfect through His work of judgment in the last days is absolutely not as simple as we imagine. The Lord Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from death with a word. But for God to cleanse and transform mankind that has been utterly corrupted by Satan to resist and act against God into a mankind that understands, obeys and worships God, a mankind that has been corrupted into living devils for millennia, into a mankind with the truth and humanity in twenty or thirty years, it is a process of battling Satan. Is this a simple matter? If God raised the dead and transformed our flesh with one word, could it humiliate Satan? In the last days, since mankind has been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years, satanic nature and disposition is deep-rooted in us. We are particularly arrogant, selfish, deceitful, evil and greedy. By loathing and detesting the truth, we have long become the enemy of God, the ilk of Satan that resist and betray God. God’s salvation of mankind is in fact a war with Satan. Just as Almighty God says, “The flesh of man has been most profoundly corrupted, and it has become something which opposes God, which even openly opposes and denies the existence of God. This corrupt flesh is simply too intractable, and nothing is more difficult to deal with or change than the corrupt disposition of the flesh. Satan comes into the flesh of man to stir up disturbance, and uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God, and impair the plan of God, and thus man has become Satan, and the enemy of God. For man to be saved, he must first be conquered. It is because of this that God rises to the challenge and comes into the flesh to do the work He intends to do, and do battle with Satan. His aim is the salvation of mankind, who has been corrupted, and the defeat and annihilation of Satan, which rebels against Him. He defeats Satan through His work of conquering man, and simultaneously saves corrupt mankind. Thus, God solves two problems at once” (“Corrupt Mankind Needs Salvation by the Incarnate God Most of All” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The degree of difficulty is quite great for God to transform mankind that has been corrupted by Satan to turn against God, into a mankind that truly obeys and is compatible with God. It is much harder than God’s creation of the heavens and earth and all things. God created all things from scratch. Everything was accomplished in a word. But for the cleansing and transforming of mankind that has been utterly corrupted by Satan, God must express many truths as an incarnate flesh to judge and cleanse man. It requires a long process for us to experience the judgment and chastisement of God to purge ourselves of the corruption and be cleansed. This is also the process of war between God and Satan. Mankind has been corrupted into living devils, and according to Satan’s original intention, only if God can turn these living devils into men again will Satan be convinced. Therefore, God goes by His original plan as an incarnate flesh to fight with Satan’s kind, first by expressing the truth to conquer man, followed by cleansing and making man perfect with the truth. When we understand the truth and have knowledge of God, we will discern the fact of our corruption by Satan. We will then begin to hate Satan, forsake and curse Satan, and completely rebel against Satan and return to God in the end. This way, we will have been wrested back from Satan’s grip by God. We, the mankind that has been saved, are the spoil of God’s victory over Satan. Only through this kind of work can God truly defeat and humiliate Satan, which is also the inside story of God’s judgment work in the last days. Do we understand the reality of God’s work in the last days? Although God works in the last days for only two to three decades, God has made a group of overcomers who are firstfruits gained and enjoyed by God. Compared to the history of mankind, can we say these two to three decades are just a blink of an eye? It is said in the Bible that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2Pe 3:8). If it says that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will change our form in a moment, in a blink of an eye, the same can be most suitably said of the results of God’s work in the last days, which is also how it can be so received. But Paul said, “For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phl 3:20–21), which man can easily interpret as those who believe in the Lord will be instantly transformed and lifted into the air to meet the Lord when He returns. So many people idly wait for the Lord to descend on a cloud to transform and rapture them. Isn’t such a saying misleading to us? We cannot be so full of conceptions and imaginations about God’s work. Each step of God’s work is practical, tangible and visible to man. The incarnate Almighty God is the practical God who comes to the world to save man by expressing the truth. If we fail to accept Him, don’t we become the ones who rebel against and resist God? How can such people receive the praise and blessings of God?
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom