3. You testify that the Lord Jesus has returned in the flesh. So where is the Lord now? Why haven’t we seen Him? Seeing is believing, so the fact that we haven’t seen Him proves that the Lord has not yet returned. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Bible Verses for Reference:
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me. If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also: and from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it suffices us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? he that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake’” (Jhn 14:6–11).
“And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, ‘Peace be to you.’ Then said He to Thomas, ‘Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My LORD and my God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed’” (Jhn 20:26–29).
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jhn 10:27).
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17).
Relevant Words of God:
Jesus proclaimed that the Spirit of truth would be bestowed upon man during the last days. The last days are here now; do you understand how the Spirit of truth expresses words? Where does the Spirit of truth appear and work? In the book of prophecy of the prophet Isaiah, there was never any mention that a child named Jesus would be born in the age of the New Testament; it was merely written that a male infant named Emmanuel would be born. Why was the name “Jesus” not mentioned? Nowhere in the Old Testament does this name appear, so why, then, do you still believe in Jesus? Surely you did not only start believing in Jesus after seeing Him with your own eyes, did you? Or did you begin to believe upon receiving a revelation? Would God really show you such grace? Would He bestow such great blessings upon you? What is the basis of your belief in Jesus? Why do you not believe that God has become flesh today? Why do you say that the absence of a revelation to you from God proves that He has not incarnated in the flesh? Must God inform people prior to commencing His work? Must He first receive their approval? Isaiah merely proclaimed that a male infant would be born in a manger; he never prophesied that Mary would give birth to Jesus. What exactly do you base your belief in Jesus born of Mary on? Surely your belief is not muddled!
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Notions Receive the Revelations of God?
God has, from beginning to end, been performing His work of managing man and saving man among mankind. From beginning to end, there is only one God working, speaking, teaching and guiding mankind. This God exists. God has spoken so many words up till now, we have already seen Him face to face, heard Him speak, experienced His work, and eaten and drunk His words, accepting His words into us to become our life. And now these words are changing us. This God indeed exists. Therefore, we have reasons to believe—and we should believe—that everything God says is true, and we should believe, as God said, the fact that God created mankind, and the fact that God created Adam and Eve in the beginning. Since you believe this God exists and you have now come before Him, then do you still need to confirm that the work performed by Jehovah is the work of this God? If no one can confirm it and no one can witness it, will you not believe it? Or regarding the work from the Age of Grace, do you not believe Jesus was God incarnate because you never saw Him? If you did not personally see the present God speak, work or incarnated in the flesh, then would you not believe it? If you did not see these things or there were no witnesses to confirm these things, would you also not believe them? This is because of the absurdly false viewpoint people have inside them. It is a mistake made by so many people. They have to personally see everything, and if they do not, they do not believe it; but by the time you do see it, it is too late. Now that we have seen these words of God and heard His voice, it is enough to make us keep believing and keep walking on, and make us believe every word and all the work that comes from God. There is no need for us to keep looking into things. Is that not the kind of sense that people should have? There was no one to witness it when God created mankind, but now God has become flesh to speak and save mankind, really performing His work, walking among the churches and working among mankind. Have a lot of people not seen this? Not everyone is able to see it, but you believe it. Why do you believe it? Do you not only believe because you feel this is the true way and the work of God? Can you still say, “In this stage of God’s work, we heard Him speak, and also saw God’s words. It’s true that these words came from God. But regarding Jesus’ work of the crucifixion, we didn’t touch His nail marks, so I don’t believe He was crucified. I did not witness the work Jehovah God did during the Age of Law, and I did not hear the laws when He proclaimed them. Only Moses heard them and wrote the Five Books of Moses, but I don’t know how he wrote them”? What is the mistake made by such people? It is the same mistake as the Israelites made in the past when they said, “Has Jehovah God indeed spoken only by Moses? Has He not spoken also by us?” (Num 12:2). What they meant was, “We won’t listen to Moses, we must hear it personally from Jehovah God.” Or else it is like when people said during the Age of Grace that, because they did not personally see it with their own eyes, they did not believe that Jesus was crucified or that He rose from the dead. There was an apostle by the name of Thomas who insisted on touching Jesus’ nail marks. And what did the Lord Jesus say to him? (“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jhn 20:29).) “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” What does this really mean? Did they really see nothing? Actually, a lot of facts already proved that Jesus was God, and so people should have believed it. Jesus did not need to perform more signs and wonders or speak more words, and people did not need to feel His nail marks to confirm that He was nailed to the cross before they believed He was God. Do not be like Thomas.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Recognizing One’s Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform
The Lord Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (Jhn 20:29). These words imply that he had already been condemned by the Lord Jesus. After being a follower for such a long time, if you still do not have faith, then how can you count yourself as one who believes in the Lord? This is not about being blessed or not blessed; it is about the fact that you will not receive anything if you do not believe. Only by believing will you receive. Are you only capable of believing in anything if God appears to you, allows you to see Him, and convinces you in person? As a human being, how are you qualified to ask God to personally appear to you? How are you qualified to make Him personally speak to a corrupt human such as yourself? Moreover, what makes you qualified to need Him to explain everything clearly to you before you will believe? If you are sensible, then you will believe after just reading these words God has uttered. If you truly believe, then it does not matter what He does or what He says. Rather, upon seeing that these words are the truth, you will be one hundred percent convinced that they were said by God and that He did these things, and you will already be prepared to follow Him to the end. You need not doubt this. People who are full of doubts are so deceitful. They simply cannot believe in God. They are always trying to understand those mysteries, and will only believe after they thoroughly comprehend them. Their precondition for believing in God is to have clear answers to these questions: How did God become flesh? When did He arrive? How long will He stay before He has to leave? Where will He go after He leaves? What is the process of His leaving? How does the Spirit of God incarnate work, and how does the Spirit leave? … They want to understand some mysteries; they are here to investigate them, not to seek the truth. They think that they will not be able to believe in God unless they can fathom these mysteries; it is as though their belief has been obstructed. This viewpoint such people have is problematic. Once they have a desire to research mysteries, they do not bother paying attention to the truth or heeding God’s words. Could such people know themselves? Self-knowledge does not come easily for them.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Recognizing One’s Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform
Before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, Thomas always doubted that He was Christ, and was incapable of belief. His faith in God was established only on the basis of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. The Lord Jesus had a good understanding of the faith of this type of person. They only believed in God in heaven, and did not believe at all in the One sent by God, or the Christ in the flesh, and nor would they accept Him. In order for Thomas to acknowledge and believe in the existence of the Lord Jesus and that He truly was God incarnate, He allowed Thomas to reach out his hand and touch His rib. Was Thomas’ doubting any different before and after the Lord Jesus’ resurrection? He was always doubting, and except by the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body personally appearing to him and allowing him to touch the nail marks on His body, there was no way that anyone could resolve his doubts and make him let go of them. So, from the time the Lord Jesus allowed Thomas to touch His rib and let him really feel the existence of the nail marks, Thomas’ doubt disappeared, and he truly knew that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected, and he acknowledged and believed that the Lord Jesus was the true Christ and God incarnate. Although at this time Thomas no longer doubted, he had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and His words provided a conclusion and a verdict on the faith of those who were full of doubts. He used His actual words and actions to tell the doubters, to tell those who only believed in God in heaven but did not believe in Christ: God did not commend their belief, nor did He commend them for following Him while doubting Him. The day when they fully believed in God and Christ could only be the day that God completed His great work. Of course, that day was also the day that a verdict was made upon their doubt. Their attitude toward Christ determined their fate, and their stubborn doubt meant that their faith bore them no fruit, and their hardness meant that their hopes were in vain. Because their belief in God in heaven was fed on illusions, and their doubt toward Christ was actually their true attitude toward God, even though they touched the nail marks on the Lord Jesus’ body, their faith was still useless and their outcome could only be described as drawing water with a bamboo basket—all in vain. What the Lord Jesus said to Thomas was also very clearly His way of telling every person: The resurrected Lord Jesus is the Lord Jesus, who spent thirty-three and a half years working among mankind. Although He had been nailed to the cross and experienced the valley of the shadow of death, and though He had experienced resurrection, He had undergone no change in any aspect. Although He now had nail marks on His body, and although He had been resurrected and walked out from the grave, His disposition, His understanding of mankind, and His intentions toward mankind had not changed in the slightest. Also, He was telling people that He had come down from the cross, triumphed over sin, overcome hardships, and triumphed over death. The nail marks were just the evidence of His victory over Satan, evidence of being a sin offering to successfully redeem all of mankind. He was telling people that He had already taken on mankind’s sins and that He had completed His work of redemption. When He returned to see His disciples, He told them this message by means of His appearance: “I am still alive, I still exist; today I am truly standing in front of you so that you can see and touch Me. I will always be with you.” The Lord Jesus also wanted to use the case of Thomas as a warning for future people: Although you can neither see nor touch the Lord Jesus in your faith in Him, you are blessed because of your true faith, and you can see the Lord Jesus because of your true faith, and this kind of person is blessed.
These words recorded in the Bible that the Lord Jesus spoke when He appeared to Thomas are of great help to all people in the Age of Grace. His appearance to Thomas and the words He spoke to him have had a profound impact on the generations that came after; they hold everlasting significance. Thomas represents a type of person who believes in God yet doubts God. They are of a suspicious nature, have sinister hearts, are treacherous, and do not believe in the things that God can accomplish. They do not believe in God’s omnipotence and His sovereignty, and neither do they believe in God incarnate. However, the Lord Jesus’ resurrection flew in the face of these traits that they have, and it also provided them with an opportunity to discover their own doubt, to recognize their own doubt, and to acknowledge their own treachery, thus coming to truly believe in the existence and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. What happened with Thomas was a warning and a caution for later generations so that more people could warn themselves not to be doubters like Thomas, and that if they did fill themselves with doubt, then they would sink into the darkness. If you follow God, but just like Thomas, always want to touch the Lord’s rib and feel His nail marks to confirm, to verify, to speculate on whether or not God exists, then God will forsake you. So, the Lord Jesus requires people to not be like Thomas, only believing what they can see with their own eyes, but to be pure, honest people, to not harbor doubts toward God, but to simply believe in and follow Him. People like this are blessed. This is a very small requirement the Lord Jesus makes of people, and it is a warning for His followers.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III
Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the essence of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What is more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the life truth. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of clinging in vain to the name of the Messiah while opposing the essence of the Messiah by any means possible. These Pharisees in essence were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God was: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous? I will ask you further: Is it not extremely easy for you to commit the mistakes of the earliest Pharisees, given that you have not the slightest understanding of Jesus? Are you able to discern the way of truth? Can you truly guarantee that you will not oppose Christ? Are you able to follow the work of the Holy Spirit? If you do not know whether you will oppose Christ, then I say that you are already living on the brink of death. Those who did not know the Messiah were all capable of opposing Jesus, of rejecting Jesus, of slandering Him. People who do not understand Jesus are all capable of rejecting Him and reviling Him. Moreover, they are capable of seeing the return of Jesus as the deceit of Satan, and more people shall condemn Jesus returned to flesh. Does not all of this make you afraid? What you face shall be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the ruination of the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches, and the spurning of all that is expressed by Jesus. What can you gain from Jesus if you are so befuddled?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew
Job 9:11 See, He goes by me, and I see Him not: He passes on also, but I perceive Him not.
Job 23:8–9 Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He does work, but I cannot behold Him: He hides Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him.
Job 42:2–6 I know that You can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from You. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech You, and I will speak: I will demand of You, and declare You to me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
What is the thrust of these words? Have any of you realized that there is a fact here? First, how did Job know there is a God? Then, how did he know that the heavens and earth and all things are ruled by God? There is a passage that answers these two questions: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5–6). From these words we learn that, rather than having seen God with his own eyes, Job had learned of God from legend. It was under these circumstances that he began to walk the path of following God, after which he confirmed the existence of God in his life, and among all things. There is an undeniable fact here—what is that fact? Despite being able to follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil, Job had never seen God. In this, was he not the same as the people of today? Job had never seen God, the implication of which is that although he had heard of God, he did not know where God was, or what God was like, or what God was doing. These are all subjective factors; objectively speaking, though he followed God, God had never appeared to him or spoken to him. Is this not a fact? Although God had not spoken to Job or given him any commands, Job had seen God’s existence and beheld His sovereignty among all things, and in the legends through which Job had heard of God by the hearing of the ear, after which he began the life of fearing God and shunning evil. Such were the origins and process by which Job followed God. …
In the following passage of scripture, Job then says, “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He does work, but I cannot behold Him: He hides Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him” (Job 23:8–9). In this account, we learn that in Job’s experiences, God had been hidden to him throughout; God had not openly appeared to him, nor had He openly spoken any words to him, yet in his heart, Job was confident of God’s existence. He had always believed that God might be walking before him, or might be acting by his side, and that although he could not see God, God was next to him, governing everything about him. Job had never seen God, but he was able to stay true to his faith, which no other person was able to do. Why could other people not do that? It is because God did not speak to Job or appear to him, and if he had not truly believed, he could not have gone on, nor could he have held fast to the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Is this not true? How do you feel when you read of Job saying these words? Do you feel that Job’s perfection and uprightness, and his righteousness before God, are true, and not an exaggeration on the part of God? Even though God treated Job the same as other people and did not appear or speak to him, Job still held firm to his integrity, still believed in God’s sovereignty, and, furthermore, he frequently offered burnt offerings and prayed before God as a result of his fear of offending God. In Job’s ability to fear God without having seen God, we see how much he loved positive things, and how firm and real his faith was. He did not deny the existence of God because God was hidden from him, nor did he lose his faith and forsake God because he had never seen Him. Instead, amid God’s hidden work of ruling all things, he had realized the existence of God, and felt the sovereignty and power of God. He did not give up on being upright because God was hidden, nor did he forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil because God had never appeared to him. Job had never asked that God openly appear to him to prove His existence, for he had already beheld God’s sovereignty among all things, and he believed that he had gained the blessings and graces that others had not gained. Although God remained hidden to him, Job’s faith in God was never shaken. Thus, he harvested what none other had: God’s approval and God’s blessing.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II
Since we are searching for the footprints of God, it behooves us to search for God’s will, for the words of God, for His utterances—because wherever there are new words spoken by God, the voice of God is there, and wherever there are the footsteps of God, God’s deeds are there. Wherever there is the expression of God, there God appears, and wherever God appears, there the truth, the way, and the life exist. In seeking God’s footprints, you have ignored the words “God is the truth, the way, and the life.” And so, many people, even when they receive the truth, do not believe that they have found God’s footprints, and still less do they acknowledge the appearance of God. What a grave mistake! The appearance of God cannot be reconciled with man’s notions, still less can God appear at the behest of man. God makes His own choices and His own plans when He does His work; moreover, He has His own objectives and His own methods. Whatever work He does, He has no need to discuss it with man or seek his advice, much less to notify each and every person of His work. This is the disposition of God, which should, moreover, be recognized by everyone. If you desire to witness the appearance of God, to follow God’s footsteps, then you must first walk away from your own notions. You must not demand that God do this or that, much less should you place Him within your own confines and limit Him to your own notions. Instead, you should ask how you are to seek God’s footprints, how you are to accept God’s appearance, and how you are to submit to the new work of God: This is what man should do. Since man is not the truth, and is not possessed of the truth, he should seek, accept, and obey.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 1: The Appearance of God Has Ushered in a New Age
It is not difficult to inquire into such a thing, but it requires each of us to know this one truth: He who is God incarnate shall possess the essence of God, and He who is God incarnate shall possess the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He intends to do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon him, and point the way for him. Flesh that does not have the essence of God is decidedly not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. If man intends to inquire into whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, then he must corroborate this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, to corroborate whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, one must discriminate on the basis of His essence. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key lies in His essence (His work, His utterances, His disposition, and many other aspects), rather than external appearance. If man scrutinizes only His external appearance, and as a result overlooks His essence, this shows that man is benighted and ignorant. External appearance cannot determine essence; what’s more, the work of God can never conform to the notions of man. Did not Jesus’ outward appearance run counter to the notions of man? Were not His countenance and dress unable to provide any clues as to His true identity? Did not the earliest Pharisees oppose Jesus precisely because they merely looked at His external appearance, and did not take to heart the words in His mouth?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface