51. I’ve Welcomed the Lord’s Return!

By Li Deming, China

My family has been Catholic for four generations, and in the late 70s, our house became a gathering place, and both my father and uncle served as church deans. Every major holy day, the grown-ups would put me on a bike to ride to a site about 20 miles away to observe the holy day. I remember the priest would often tell us in Mass: “The last days are already upon us, we have to be on the alert all the time, keep our souls cleansed, and not commit any major sins, because the Lord could come back down on a cloud and take us up into heaven at any moment.” Back then, all the parishioners, young and old, were burning with fervor, saying the Rosary, attending Mass, and doing good deeds, longing every day for the Lord’s return.

Both my father and uncle passed away in the early 90s and I took on the role of dean. I guided the parishioners in saying the Rosary, in services, and I read Scriptures and delivered sermons. Then in the spring of 1999, our priest gave me a gospel leaflet from Hong Kong and told me to mobilize everyone immediately with the good news that the Lord’s return was imminent. I convened everyone, and asked them to pray the Rosary three times a day. I explained to them the signs of the Lord’s coming foretold in the Bible. I said, “Fellow faithful, the Lord is about to return very soon. The Lord Jesus said, ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty’ (Matthew 24:30). When the Lord comes a great sign will appear in the sky. We’ll all see with our own eyes the Lord descending on a cloud, with brilliance and majesty, to take us up into heaven. Only a few short months are left until the year 2000. We can’t delay sharing the gospel with unbeliever friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Saving more souls will be a great credit for us in the Lord’s eyes.” Hearing this stirred everyone up, and they all started discussing how they needed to stop coveting worldly things and share the gospel more with friends and family. November came in no time at all, and I started noticing my wife seemed a little different from usual. She went to Sister Tian Xiao’s house in our village to read Scripture every night after dinner, and she hadn’t done vespers with me for quite a few days. I was quite confused, and I wondered if she’d converted to another denomination. One afternoon, my wife asked me, “We’ve been believers for many years now. Are you hoping for the Lord’s return?” Without any hesitation, I said, “Do you even have to ask? Of course I am!” Then she said to me very earnestly, “I have good news for you. The Lord has incarnated again and returned, and He’s opened the scroll mentioned in Revelation.” I was pretty shocked. I raised my voice and said to her, “What on earth are you talking about? The Lord Jesus is definitely coming on the clouds when He returns. There’s no way He’s returning in the flesh!” Then my wife said, “You haven’t even looked into it. How can you just blindly determine that He can’t come back in the flesh? Over all our years of faith, haven’t we been hoping to greet the Lord’s return? By making this blind assumption based on your notions, you could miss your chance to be raptured. I think you should calm down and really investigate this.” But nothing she said really got through to me. After this I was worried she’d been led astray, so I kept telling her about prophecies of the Lord’s second coming, saying, “After the Lord Jesus was crucified and then resurrected, His glorious body went up into heaven on a cloud. When He returns, He’ll appear in spirit form, coming on the clouds in all glory. How could He come back in the flesh? The Bible says, ‘Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him’ (Revelation 1:7). ‘And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty’ (Matthew 24:29–30). We can see here that when He returns the sun will darken and the moon will lose its light. The stars will fall from the sky and the Lord will come down on a cloud. But as of yet, none of these signs have appeared at all. How could you say He’s already come?” She then responded very calmly, “The Lord’s prophecies are all hidden mysteries. If we explain them with blind literalism, based on our notions and imaginings, we’re likely to misinterpret His words. Just think of the Pharisees. They went by the literal meaning of the Scriptures and their own notions, thinking the Messiah would be born in a royal palace and would assume power, but the Lord Jesus wasn’t born in a palace. He was born in a manger as the son of a carpenter, and moreover He wasn’t any kind of ruler. The Pharisees saw the Lord Jesus’ birth and work didn’t fit with their notions at all, so they absolutely refused to accept that He was the coming of the Messiah, and they condemned and resisted Him. We can’t make the same mistake as the Pharisees!” I got annoyed when she said that, thinking “In any case, I’m the church dean and more educated than her, but she just refuses to listen to me, and is even saying I’m blindly misinterpreting the Lord’s prophecies.” My face darkened and I said to her in a harsh tone, “I’ve told you over and over, but you won’t listen. You’ve really been taken in! You have to stop going to those gatherings.” But she said resolutely, “I’ve already investigated clearly, and my faith is in the returned Lord. If you don’t believe, that’s your business, but don’t stand in my way.” Hearing her say this annoyed and angered me. In an effort to save her, I called a couple other church deans to try to dissuade her. One of the deans said to her really confidently, “Catholicism is the only correct religion. When the Lord returns, all the other denominations will come back to Catholicism. This is the Union of Christendom. I’m sure you know about this, as we both come from a long line of Catholics.” But my wife retorted, “Is there any basis in the word of the Holy Spirit for all denominations coming back to the Catholic Church when the Lord returns? Did the Lord Jesus ever say that? Do members of the Protestant churches and Eastern Orthodox churches want to reunify with the Catholic Church? The Bible prophesied long ago, ‘And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it’ (Isaiah 2:2). Here ‘mountains’ refers to the various denominations. When the Lord does the work of reunification, it isn’t Protestantism returning to Catholicism or vice versa, rather, it’s true believers from all denominations coming before God’s throne. By all beliefs becoming one in this way, the Lord’s righteousness will become evident and all people will be utterly convinced.” When I heard her saying this, it all felt so novel and enlightening to me. The deans were left speechless, too, and one of them just said emphatically, “You’re just a parishioner—you think you know more than a priest? No matter what you say, in the end, all denominations will return to Catholicism. Those who turn their backs on Catholicism have betrayed God, they will not be saved, and their souls won’t go to heaven. You have been led astray. I advise you to go to confession immediately. It’s not too late to turn back.” She responded firmly, “I haven’t been led astray. I’ve heard the Holy Spirit’s words to the churches and I’m following the Lamb’s footsteps. I’ve accepted God’s new work. I’m staying on this path, and no one can stand in my way.” I’d initially wanted those two deans to dissuade her, but I’d never imagined that not only could they not convince her, but that they’d be left speechless by her retorts. After that, my wife’s faith grew even stronger. She said that at first she felt a little constrained by me and was hesitant, but when the deans tried to disrupt her, she clearly saw that they didn’t understand the truth, they were really arrogant, and didn’t want to humbly seek. She no longer felt constrained and kept attending gatherings every single day.

I thought to myself: “She isn’t very educated, and doesn’t know the Bible very well, so how could those two deans be so dumbfounded by her arguments? What sorts of sermons is she listening to that are so incredible?” I was long puzzled by my wife’s transformation. I thought carefully over what she’d said, and felt there was something to it. Could it be that what she believed in really came from the Holy Spirit? I figured that wasn’t possible. If it did come from the Lord, then our priests should know all about it, so why hadn’t I heard them mention it? I went to talk to my brother-in-law about it. He was a church dean, too. But to my surprise, as soon as I had finished saying what I had to say, he said angrily, “The Lord cannot possibly return in the flesh! There’s a church called Eastern Lightning that has emerged. They say the Lord has returned in the flesh and that He’s called Almighty God. Their teachings are really elevated and they’ve stolen away lots of ardent believers. Over a dozen just from our church alone have been misled, and even one priest. They won’t come back no matter what we say. Don’t listen to what they preach, no matter what.” Listening to my brother-in-law, I realized my wife had been listening to Eastern Lightning’s sermons. From my brother-in-law’s place, I went straight to another dean’s house and told him to tell the other parishioners to stay far away from Eastern Lightning. At the same time I started to become even more curious and I had this kind of defiant feeling about it. I wondered, “What exactly does Eastern Lightning have to say? Why have so many believers gone over to them? How could they mislead even priests? No matter how good their sermons are, could they really surpass our Catholic truths? If I have the chance, I want to see what they are actually preaching.”

I started reading the Bible more so I’d be more equipped to refute anyone from Eastern Lightning. I searched for prophecies related to the Lord’s return and read them over and over again. I read that the Lord Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice: and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). While reading the words of the Lord I thought: “That’s right, the sheep of the Lord will hear His voice. So many ardent believers have accepted Eastern Lightning after hearing what they preached, and refuse to turn back. That is quite telling! They are all long-time Catholics with insight and a strong foundation in the faith. They must have investigated before accepting Eastern Lightning. Could it be that the book they read does contain the truth, that it is the voice of God? And if I don’t check it out, how would I know if what they preach really does come from God or not? I’ll see what it’s all about first, and then if there is truth in it and it accords with the Bible, I’ll keep on investigating. If it does not accord with the Catholic faith, I can still reject it.”

Then one morning right after breakfast, I found that my wife had gone out again. I knew she had gone to Tian Xiao’s house again. I thought to myself, “These sermons must be really enticing if she’s going to gatherings every day! I want to see what exactly they are saying.” When I got to Tian Xiao’s house, I not only saw a few other parishioners, but also Brother Wang Mingyi. He invited me to join the gathering. I sat down to listen and silently prayed to the Lord, asking Him to watch over my heart, to grant me discernment so I wouldn’t be misled. Mingyi said, “The Bible contains three parts: the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Revelation. Each part records God’s work of a different age. The Old Testament records His work in the Age of Law, when God issued the Ten Commandments through Moses plus His laws and decrees so that people would know what sin is and how to live on earth. The New Testament records His work in the Age of Grace, when the Lord Jesus was crucified as an eternal sin offering for mankind, redeeming people from sin, preventing them from being condemned and punished under the law for their sins. Revelation prophesied God’s work in the last days, the work of the Age of Kingdom, when God becomes flesh and comes in secret, expressing truths to judge and cleanse mankind, to fully free us from the bonds of sin. This is an enormous salvation for all seekers of the truth.” He also said, “In fact, God prophesied He’d come incarnate in the last days long ago. There are many prophecies of this in the Bible. The Lord said, ‘Be you then also ready: for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come’ (Luke 12:40), and ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15). Here, ‘you think not’ and ‘as a thief,’ are about ‘the Son of man’ coming in secret when people aren’t expecting it. ‘The Son of man’ refers to God’s incarnation. Just like the Lord Jesus—God incarnate of the last days was born of man, born into a family of common people. He looks just like a regular person, but He has the Holy Spirit within, and His essence is divine. He is the incarnation of God Himself. If it is the Spirit of God He cannot be called the Son of man, just like Jehovah God cannot be called the Son of man since He is the Spirit.” Hearing Mingyi keep testifying that God had come back in the flesh was kind of irritating for me, and I didn’t want to hear anymore. I stood up and refuted him, saying, “I can’t accept what you’re saying about the Lord Jesus returning in the flesh. The Bible prophesies, ‘You men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen Him going into heaven’ (Acts 1:11). The priests often tell us that the Lord went up into heaven on a cloud in spirit form, so when He returns, it should be in spirit form, coming down on a cloud in all glory. The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross for us, taking on unimaginable suffering. He’s not going to return in the flesh.” In response, Mingyi calmly encouraged me, “Brother, let’s sit down and fellowship more on this. The words of God are the truth and can resolve all our doubts.” I had behaved impudently toward Mingyi, but he was still patiently trying to advise me, so to not embarrass him, I had no choice but to sit down. But I was still afraid of being misled, and I thought to myself, “Mingyi speaks well, I can’t outdo him with my knowledge of the Bible. If I carry on listening and can’t tell if I’m being misled, what should I do? I’m afraid I won’t be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven. That can’t happen. I can’t listen to him anymore. I have to go home and really pore over the Bible first.” So, I found an excuse and left.

After going home, I thought about the idea of the Lord returning in the flesh, and I was totally racked with turmoil. “Maybe my wife could be led astray, but misleading all those other devoted believers just didn’t seem possible! If the Lord really has returned in the flesh and I don’t look into it, I could lose my chance to welcome the Lord. But if Eastern Lightning isn’t the true way and I end up on the wrong path, that would be a betrayal of the Lord and my soul couldn’t be saved.” For a while, I didn’t know what I should do, my food lost its taste, and I spent sleepless nights tossing and turning. In my misery I kneeled before an image of the Sacred Heart and prayed, “Lord Jesus, I don’t know if Eastern Lightning really is Your return or not. Please give me discernment and don’t let me lose my way and take the wrong path. God, please guide Your child.”

After that, I started reading through all sorts of verses about the Lord’s return, and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I found some prophecies about the Lord coming in secret, and discovered a mystery. I realized that lots of verses mention that those who welcome the Lord’s secret coming will attend the feast with Him, and that they will be blessed. For example, “And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom comes, go you forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. … the bridegroom came; and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut” (Matthew 25:6–7, 10). “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15). “And you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he comes, shall find watching. Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants” (Luke 12:36–38). “Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear My voice, and open to Me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). I pondered and prayed over these verses over and over. I saw these words, “at midnight there was a cry made,” “as a thief,” “come in the second watch,” and “come in the third watch,” were all about the Lord coming down in secret when people weren’t aware of it. What those people were saying about the Lord coming down in secret to save mankind really was in accordance with the Bible and the Lord’s word! If I could welcome the Lord’s secret coming, wouldn’t I become one of the blessed? It was the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment that allowed me to discover this mystery of the Lord’s coming. My heart was filled with gratitude beyond words for the Lord. I kept searching through the Bible. This is said by the Lord Jesus: “For as the lightning that lightens from under heaven, shines unto the parts that are under heaven, so shall the Son of man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation” (Luke 17:24–25). Before, I’d believed the Lord Jesus would return in spirit form, but the Lord clearly said, “But first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.” If the Lord returned in spirit form, people would tremble in fear at the sight of Him and would fall to the ground, in which case, how could He suffer or be rejected by people? Only God’s incarnation as the Son of man would suffer and be rejected. Could it be that Eastern Lightning’s testimony was right, and that the Lord had become flesh and returned as the Son of man? But then I remembered Revelation 1:7 that says, “Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of Him.” According to this verse, the Lord will return gloriously on the clouds to take us up, and everyone will see Him. If the Lord came down in the flesh in secret, how could that Bible verse be explained? Aren’t the prophecies of coming in secret and of coming on the clouds contradictory? I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

In the blink of an eye, the New Year’s Day for the year 2000 arrived, but my cherished hope of the Lord coming down on a cloud didn’t come to fruition. I knew the signs of the Lord’s return had all basically been fulfilled. I started to question the idea of the Lord coming back down on a cloud before the new millennium. In my heart, I was leaning toward the idea of a secret coming more and more. I kept searching for prophecies about it. I also prayed to the Lord Jesus, “Lord, the millennium has come, but I haven’t seen You come down on a cloud. I’m disappointed and in pain. Now only Eastern Lightning bears witness that You’ve returned. Lord Jesus, have You really come back? Please enlighten me so that I can recognize Your work.” At this time I really wanted to hear more of Mingyi’s fellowship because I was thinking that if Eastern Lightning truly is the Lord’s return, I’d be cast out through God’s work if I didn’t accept it. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I felt. There was a day in January I really just couldn’t sit still. I told my wife I wanted to hear what Mingyi had to say. After meeting up with him, I told him, “Lately I’ve been at home reading so many passages of Scripture and I feel like what you said fits with the prophecies. Now I can accept the idea of the Lord coming in secret as the Son of man, but there’s also this prophecy: ‘Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of Him’ (Revelation 1:7). This says the Lord will come on the clouds in great glory. Doesn’t that contradict the Lord coming secretly? The Lord is faithful, and there’s no doubt His words will all be fulfilled. There must be some mystery within this.”

He read me a couple passages of Almighty God’s words, patiently fellowshiped with me, and I came to understand the mystery.

Almighty God says, “Everyone in the universe who knows of the salvation of Jesus the Savior has been desperately yearning for Jesus Christ to suddenly arrive to fulfill what Jesus said while on earth: ‘I shall arrive just as I departed.’ Man believes that, following the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven upon a white cloud to take His place at the Most High’s right hand. In like manner, Jesus shall descend again upon a white cloud (this cloud refers to the cloud that Jesus rode upon when He returned to heaven), among those who have desperately yearned for Him for thousands of years, and He shall bear the image and wear the clothing of the Jews. After appearing to man, He shall bestow food upon them, and cause living water to gush forth for them, and shall live among man, full of grace and full of love, vivid and real. All such notions are what people believe. Yet Jesus the Savior did not do this; He did the opposite of what man conceived. He did not arrive among those who had yearned for His return, and He did not appear to all people while riding upon the white cloud. He has already arrived, but man does not know, and remains ignorant. Man is merely awaiting Him aimlessly, unaware that He has already descended upon a ‘white cloud’ (the cloud which is His Spirit, His words, His entire disposition and all that He is), and is now among a group of overcomers that He will make during the last days” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a “White Cloud”).

Many people may not care what I say, but I still want to tell every so-called saint who follows Jesus that, when you see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud with your own eyes, this will be the public appearance of the Sun of righteousness. Perhaps that will be a time of great excitement for you, yet you should know that the time when you witness Jesus descend from the heaven is also the time when you go down to hell to be punished. That will be the time of the end of God’s management plan and it will be when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. For the judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth. Those who accept the truth and do not seek signs, and thus have been purified, shall have returned before the throne of God and entered the Creator’s embrace. Only those who persist in the belief that ‘The Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is a false Christ’ shall be subjected to everlasting punishment, for they only believe in the Jesus who exhibits signs, but do not acknowledge the Jesus who proclaims severe judgment and releases the true way and life. And so it can only be that Jesus deals with them when He openly returns upon a white cloud. They are too stubborn, too confident in themselves, too arrogant. How could such degenerates be rewarded by Jesus? The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit” (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).

After reading God’s words, Mingyi fellowshiped, “There are two stages to God’s return in the last days. First, He incarnates as the Son of man and comes in secret. He expresses truths and does the work of judgment and cleansing, ultimately making a group of people into overcomers. Then the work of God’s secret incarnation will be concluded. He will then rain down the great disasters, rewarding good and punishing evil. Once the great disasters end, God will come down on a cloud, appearing to all peoples of all nations. This completely fulfills the Lord’s prophecy: ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty’ (Matthew 24:30). In human minds, the Lord coming down on a cloud should be a time of great jubilation for the people of all nations, so why did He say there’d be cries of anguish? It’s because they’ll see that Almighty God, who they resisted, is actually the returned Lord Jesus. But by then, God’s work to save mankind will already be done. Since they kept refusing to accept anything other than ‘the Lord Jesus coming on a white cloud,’ they missed their chance to welcome the Lord and be saved. All they will be able to do is weep and gnash their teeth, and be punished. We can see that God incarnate returning in secret to work isn’t just for man’s salvation, but is also to expose and to cast people out. The sheep of God hear His voice, and all those who hear His voice and accept Him during the time when He works secretly in the flesh come before God’s throne. These people are the sheep of God, they are wise virgins, and read God’s word every day, they will be judged before the seat of Christ. Those who can rid themselves of corruption and be cleansed through God’s judgment and chastisement will receive protection through the disasters and survive. But the wicked and the forces of evil who don’t listen to the voice of God and resist God will be exposed and cast out through the work of God’s incarnation and ultimately punished in the great disasters. God’s work in secret separates the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, the wise virgins from the foolish virgins, the true believers from the false ones, the servants of good from the servants of evil—all this is revealed. All will be unwittingly sorted according to their kind. This is the wisdom of God’s work!” Hearing this fellowship from him really opened my eyes all of a sudden. I saw this is how the biblical prophecies about the Lord’s return will be fulfilled, and I could see God’s authority within Almighty God’s words. That sense of God’s unoffendable righteousness left me trembling with fear. I knew if I clung to the notion of the Lord returning on the clouds and didn’t accept the truths expressed by God incarnate, I’d lose my chance at salvation! Inwardly I rejoiced at how lucky I was to have taken the initiative to seek the true way, saving me from being abandoned and cast out by the Lord. That day I learned something about the mystery of the Lord’s return from reading just a few passages of Almighty God’s words. No wonder so many believers refused to come back after accepting Almighty God.

I was eager to clear up more of my confusion, so I continued to ask Mingyi more questions. I said, “The Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples for 40 days after His resurrection, and then He ascended into the sky in His resurrected spiritual body. We’ve always thought that when the Lord returns to judge the world in the last days, He’ll appear in spirit form, seated at a great white throne, majestic and awe-inspiring, judging all peoples, so those with great sin go to hell, while those who have done good work go to heaven. But you bear witness that the Lord comes in the flesh to carry out His judgment work in the last days. Is there a biblical basis for this?” He said, “There are biblical prophecies about God becoming flesh as the Son of man in the last days to perform the work of judgment. For example, ‘For as lightning comes out of the east, and appears even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27). ‘For neither does the Father judge any man, but has given all judgment to the Son’ (John 5:22). ‘And He has given Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of man’ (John 5:27). ‘He that despises Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). ‘I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth’ (John 16:12–13). ‘For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). These mentions of ‘the Son,’ and ‘the Son of man’ all refer to God in His incarnate form. In the last days, God’s Spirit becomes flesh as the Son of man and proclaims truths to do His judgment work, and this is judgment beginning with the house of God. That is to say, Christ of the last days expresses truths and carries out judgment among those who accept His judgment work, to cleanse and save them, leading them to enter into all truths. This is the work God incarnate performs in secret. As for all those who resist God, He will directly condemn and destroy them, using the disasters to deal with them. Christ of the last days, Almighty God, expresses all truths that cleanse and save man, doing the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. This completely fulfills the prophecies of the Lord’s return in the last days.” I became even more enlightened upon hearing this. After that, Mingyi read a few more passages of the word of Almighty God and fellowshiped with me about why God doesn’t do His judgment work in the last days in spirit form, but carries it out personally in the flesh.

Almighty God says, “God’s saving of man is not done directly using the method of the Spirit and the identity of the Spirit, for His Spirit can neither be touched nor seen by man, neither can man draw near. If He tried to save man directly using the perspective of the Spirit, man would be unable to receive His salvation. If God did not put on the outward form of a created man, there would be no way for man to receive this salvation. For man has no way of approaching Him, much as no one was able to go near the cloud of Jehovah. Only by becoming a created human being, that is, only by putting His word into the body of flesh that He is about to become, can He personally work the word into all who follow Him. Only then can man personally see and hear His word, and moreover enter into possession of His word, and by this means come to be fully saved. If God did not become flesh, no one of flesh and blood would be able to receive such great salvation, nor would a single person be saved. If the Spirit of God worked directly in the midst of mankind, all humanity would be struck down, or else, with no way of coming into touch with God, they would be completely carried away captive by Satan. The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)).

If the Spirit of God spoke directly to man, mankind would all submit to the voice, falling down without words of revelation, much in the way that Paul fell to the ground in the light on the road to Damascus. If God continued to work in this way, man would never be able to come to know his own corruption through the judgment of the word and thereby attain salvation. Only through becoming flesh can God personally deliver His words into the ears of each and every human being, so that all who have ears may hear His words and receive His work of judgment by the word. Only this is the result achieved by His word, rather than the Spirit becoming manifest to frighten man into submission. It is only through this practical and yet extraordinary work that the old disposition of man, hidden deep within for many years, can be fully exposed, so that man may recognize it and have it changed. These things are all the practical work of God incarnate, in which, speaking and executing judgment in a practical manner, He achieves the results of judgment upon man by the word. This is the authority of God incarnate and the significance of God’s incarnation” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)).

Then he fellowshiped with me, “We can see from God’s words that the first time God became flesh, He was crucified as a sin offering to take on man’s sins, so once we believe in the Lord our sins are forgiven. But the root of our sin, our sinful nature is still within us. We’re constantly sinning and revealing corrupt dispositions such as arrogance, deviousness, and evil. We lie and cheat, we’re jealous, and we’re hateful. In the face of disaster, or when there’s hardship in our family, we tend to blame and judge God, and even deny Him. That’s an undeniable fact. God is holy, so anyone who is impure cannot behold Him. We’re so filthy and corrupt, and we sin and resist God, so how could we be worthy of entering God’s kingdom? When the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He expresses truths and does the work of judgment to cleanse and transform man so that people can fully cast off their sin and corruption, be saved by God, and enter God’s kingdom. His judgment in the last days is to purify and save mankind. Therefore doing His work in the flesh is most appropriate. If God’s Spirit judged people, they wouldn’t be cleansed or saved. That’s because people are mortal, of the flesh, and we’ve all been corrupted by Satan, so we’re full of satanic dispositions, filth, and corruption. We could never be near God’s Spirit. If His Spirit directly judged us, we’d just be obliterated because of our rebellion and defiance. God’s Spirit speaking directly to man would be like thunder and lightning. Not only would we not understand, but it would terrify us. That kind of judgment work of mankind wouldn’t achieve the desired aims. I’ll give you an example. Imagine a little bird is injured and we want to help it out, but it’s afraid of us and won’t let us approach it, because it’s totally different from us, and it can’t understand what we say and it doesn’t understand our intentions. But if we turned into a little bird, and then approached to help, it wouldn’t be afraid or resist us. In the same way, in order to better save us, such deeply corrupted humans, God becomes flesh and puts on the outer shell of a regular person. He expresses truths, speaks in a language that can be understood by humans, and exposes our corruption and rebelliousness, as well as our sinful nature of opposing God, displaying His righteous disposition to us, so that we can see God is very real. Then He can also very clearly share with us His will and demands, and the truths people should practice and enter into, showing us the path to change our dispositions and be cleansed. God doing His work in the flesh can better reveal our notions and rebelliousness. The first time God incarnated and came to work, the Pharisees knew very well that the work and words of the Lord Jesus were authoritative and powerful, but they saw He didn’t look like a great man, that He was the son of a carpenter, and that what He said and did didn’t fit with their notions and imaginings, so they refused to even look into it, and just resisted and condemned Him, and kept others from investigating God’s work. Ultimately, they had the Lord Jesus crucified. In the last days, God has incarnated again to perform His work of judgment, and because God becoming flesh to speak and do His work isn’t in line with people’s notions, we delimit God out of our arrogance, judging Him, and resisting His work. The clergy of the religious world in particular, are madly resisting, condemning, and blaspheming God. If God didn’t incarnate to do this work, but His Spirit came to do the work of judgment, who would dare be so flippant toward Him? Could that reveal people’s corruption? It’s only God in the flesh that can reveal all our rebelliousness, corruption, and notions about God. Those who love the truth can recognize their corrupt dispositions and satanic natures of defiance and rebelliousness against God through His judgment and revelations. They are able to repent and despise themselves, and ultimately they’re conquered and cleansed through His words, and led by God into His kingdom. But those who cling to their notions and imaginings, denying and resisting God, who refuse to accept the truth, but insist on fighting God, will be revealed by God to be the tares. They are the servants of evil and the antichrists revealed by God’s work in the last days. Not only will they not be saved, but they will be cursed and punished by God, just like the Pharisees. So, God incarnate coming to do His judgment work in the last days is most useful for saving corrupt mankind.”

Mingyi’s fellowship was really enlightening for me. I thought of the Age of Law. When Jehovah God appeared and spoke to the Israelites on Mount Sinai, they all heard God’s voice as if it were thunder and they were filled with fear. They said to Moses, “Speak you to us, and we will hear: let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:19). God is holy, and we’re corrupt humans. We really can’t have direct contact with God’s Spirit. I also thought back on when I first heard the news that the Lord has returned in the flesh. I was filled with notions and resistance, and I was insufferably arrogant. Without seeking or looking into it, I just blindly determined and judged that the Lord couldn’t possibly return in the flesh. I sealed off the church, kept others from investigating the true way, and tried to stop my wife from attending gatherings. How were my actions any different from the Pharisees’, when they resisted the Lord Jesus? I had been so arrogant and rebellious. If God’s Spirit did the work of judgment, I would have already been obliterated, then how would I have had a chance to gain God’s salvation? God incarnate performing the work of judgment really is His salvation for man! God incarnate carrying out His work in the last days is absolutely necessary!

Mingyi fellowshiped with me a few more times after that and I read a lot of Almighty God’s words. From His words, I learned the inside story and meaning behind God’s three stages of work to save mankind, the mysteries of God’s incarnations, the mysteries of His names, the inside truth of the Bible, how to hear His voice, how to discern the true Christ from false ones, what kinds of people God saves, what kinds of people He casts out, and more. The more I read Almighty God’s words, the better I understood His work and His will. I understood so many mysteries of the Bible that I hadn’t understood before, so many things became clear that I’d never grasped before. It was so nourishing for me. I felt sure in my heart that the words of Almighty God are the truth, the voice of God, and that Almighty God is the one and only true God appeared! This is because only God can proclaim truths, reveal mysteries, and provide us with endless truth and life. Almighty God is truly the Lord returned! I used to stick with the literal words of the Bible, and I delineated God based on my notions and imaginings. I didn’t look into God’s new work, but stubbornly rejected the returned God. I nearly became a God-resisting Pharisee, missing my chance to welcome the returned Lord and enter into heaven. If the Holy Spirit hadn’t guided and saved me in time, I would have certainly been ruined by my notions. It’s all thanks to God’s mercy and salvation that I could welcome His return and attend His wedding banquet. Thank Almighty God!

Previous: 50. A Bitter Lesson From Following Man Instead of God

Next: 52. Letting Go of My Domineering Ways

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