2. The Notion of the Religious World That: “When the Lord Returns, He Will Appear to Man as a Spiritual Body Risen From the Dead”
In the Bible two angels say: “You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). As a result, the religious world believes that after the Lord Jesus finished the work of crucifixion, He rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples, and He became a glorious body and ascended to heaven, so when the Lord returns, He will also appear to man as a spiritual body risen from the dead.
God’s Words From the Bible
“But of that day and that hour knows no man, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32).
“If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you” (Revelation 3:3).
“Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes” (Matthew 24:44).
“For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27).
“For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24–25).
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6).
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
Jesus left riding on a white cloud—this is fact—but how could He return on a white cloud among men and still be called Jesus? If He really did arrive on a cloud, how would man fail to recognize Him? Would people all over the world not recognize Him? In that case, would Jesus alone not be God? In that case, the image of God would be the appearance of a Jew and would moreover be the same forever. Jesus said that He would arrive as He had departed, but do you know the true meaning of His words? Can it be that He told this group of you? All you know is that He will arrive as He departed, riding on a cloud, but do you know exactly how God Himself does His work? If you were truly able to see, then how are the words that Jesus spoke to be explained? He said: When the Son of man comes in the last days, He Himself will not know, the angels will not know, the messengers in heaven will not know, and all humanity will not know. Only the Father will know, that is, only the Spirit shall know. Even the Son of man Himself does not know, yet you are able to see and know? If you were capable of knowing and seeing with your own eyes, would these words not have been spoken in vain? And what did Jesus say at the time? “But of that day and hour knows no man, not the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. … Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.” When that day comes, the Son of man Himself will not know it. The Son of man refers to the incarnate flesh of God, a normal and ordinary person. Even the Son of man Himself does not know, so how could you know? Jesus said that He would arrive as He had departed. When He arrives, even He Himself does not know, so can He inform you in advance? Are you able to see His arrival? Is that not a joke?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)
God became flesh because the object of His work is not the spirit of Satan, or any incorporeal thing, but man, who is of the flesh and has been corrupted by Satan. It is precisely because the flesh of man has been corrupted that God has made fleshly man the object of His work; moreover, because man is the object of corruption, God has made man the only object of His work throughout all the stages of His salvation work. Man is a mortal being, is of flesh and blood, and God is the only One who can save man. In this way, God must become a flesh that possesses the same attributes as man in order to do His work, so that His work might achieve better effects. God must become flesh to do His work precisely because man is of the flesh, and incapable of overcoming sin or divesting himself of the flesh.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God
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. … Only by becoming flesh can God live alongside man, experience the suffering of the world, and live in a normal body of flesh. Only in this way can He supply men with the practical way that they need as created beings. It is through the incarnation of God that man receives full salvation from God, and not directly from heaven in answer to his prayers. For, man being of flesh and blood, he has no way of seeing the Spirit of God, much less of approaching His Spirit. All that man can come into contact with is God’s incarnate flesh, and only by means of this is man able to grasp all the ways and all the truths and receive full salvation. The second incarnation will be sufficient to purge away the sins of man and to fully purify him. Hence, with the second incarnation, the entirety of God’s work in the flesh will be brought to a close and the significance of God’s incarnation be made complete. Thenceforth, the work of God in the flesh will have entirely come to an end. After the second incarnation, He will not become flesh a third time for His work. For His entire management will have come to an end. The incarnation of the last days will have fully gained His chosen people, and humanity in the last days will all have been classed according to kind. He will no longer do the work of salvation, nor will He return to the flesh to carry out any work.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
The only reason that the incarnate God has come into the flesh is because of the needs of corrupt man. It is because of the needs of man, not of God, and all His sacrifices and sufferings are for the sake of mankind, and not for the benefit of God Himself. There are no pros and cons or rewards for God; He shall not reap some future harvest, but that which was originally owed to Him. All that He does and sacrifices for mankind is not so that He might gain great rewards, but purely for the sake of mankind. Though God’s work in the flesh involves many unimaginable difficulties, the effects that it ultimately achieves far exceed those of the work done directly by the Spirit. The work of the flesh entails much hardship, and the flesh cannot possess the same great identity as the Spirit, He cannot carry out the same supernatural deeds as the Spirit, much less can He possess the same authority as the Spirit. Yet the essence of the work done by this unremarkable flesh is far superior to that of the work done directly by the Spirit, and this flesh Himself is the answer to the needs of all mankind. For those to be saved, the use value of the Spirit is far inferior to that of the flesh: The work of the Spirit is able to cover the entire universe, across all mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans, yet the work of the flesh more effectively relates to every person with whom He comes into contact. What is more, God’s flesh with tangible form can better be understood and trusted by man, and can further deepen man’s knowledge of God, and can leave upon man a more profound impression of the actual deeds of God. The work of the Spirit is shrouded in mystery; it is difficult for mortal beings to fathom, and even harder for them to see, and so they can only rely on hollow imaginings. The work of the flesh, however, is normal, and based on reality, and possessed of rich wisdom, and is a fact that can be beheld by the physical eye of man; man can personally experience the wisdom of the work of God, and has no need to employ his bountiful imagination. This is the accuracy and real value of the work of God in the flesh. The Spirit can only do things that are invisible to man and difficult for him to imagine, for example the enlightenment of the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit, and the guidance of the Spirit, but for man who has a mind, these do not provide any clear meaning. They only provide a moving, or a broad meaning, and cannot give an instruction with words. The work of God in the flesh, however, is greatly different: It involves the accurate guidance of words, it has clear will, and has clear required goals. And so man does not need to grope around, or employ his imagination, much less make guesses. This is the clarity of the work in the flesh, and its great difference from the work of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is only suitable for a limited scope and cannot replace the work of the flesh. The work of the flesh gives man far more exact and necessary goals and far more real, valuable knowledge than the work of the Spirit. The work that is of greatest value to corrupt man is that which provides accurate words, clear goals to pursue, and which can be seen and touched. Only realistic work and timely guidance are suited to man’s tastes, and only real work can save man from his corrupt and depraved disposition. This can only be achieved by the incarnate God; only the incarnate God can save man from his formerly corrupt and depraved disposition. Although the Spirit is the inherent essence of God, work such as this can only be done by His flesh. If the Spirit worked single-handedly, then it would not be possible for His work to be effective—this is a plain truth.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God
Though the incarnate flesh of God is far from matching God’s identity and position, and seems to man to be incompatible with His actual status, this flesh, who does not possess the true image of God, or the true identity of God, can do the work that God’s Spirit is unable to do directly. Such is the true significance and value of God’s incarnation, and it is this significance and value which man is unable to appreciate and acknowledge. Though all mankind look up to God’s Spirit and look down on God’s flesh, irrespective of how they view or think, the real significance and value of the flesh far exceed those of the Spirit. Of course, this is only with regard to corrupt mankind. For everyone who seeks the truth and longs for the appearance of God, the Spirit’s work can only provide moving or inspiration, and a sense of wondrousness that it is inexplicable and unimaginable, and a sense that it is great, transcendent, and admirable, yet also unattainable and unobtainable to all. Man and the Spirit of God can only look upon each other from afar, as if there were a great distance between them, and they can never be alike, as if man and God were separated by an invisible divide. In fact, this is an illusion given to man by the Spirit, which is because the Spirit and man are not of the same kind and shall never coexist in the same world, and because the Spirit possesses nothing of man. So man does not have need of the Spirit, for the Spirit cannot directly do the work most needed by man. The work of the flesh offers man real objectives to pursue, clear words, and a sense that He is real and normal, that He is humble and ordinary. Although man may be afraid of Him, for most people He is easy to relate to: Man can behold His face, and hear His voice, and he does not need to look at Him from afar. This flesh feels approachable to man, not distant, or unfathomable, but visible and touchable, for this flesh is in the same world as man.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God
Because the one who is judged is man, man who is of the flesh and has been corrupted, and it is not the spirit of Satan that is judged directly, the work of judgment is therefore not carried out in the spiritual world, but among man. No one is more suitable, and qualified, than God in the flesh for the work of judging the corruption of man’s flesh. If judgment were carried out directly by the Spirit of God, then it would not be all-embracing. Furthermore, such work would be difficult for man to accept, for the Spirit is unable to come face-to-face with man, and because of this, the effects would not be immediate, much less would man be able to behold the unoffendable disposition of God more clearly. Satan can only be fully defeated if God in the flesh judges the corruption of mankind. Being the same as man possessed of normal humanity, God in the flesh can directly judge the unrighteousness of man; this is the mark of His innate holiness, and of His extraordinariness. Only God is qualified to, and is in the position to, judge man, for He is possessed of the truth, and righteousness, and so He is able to judge man. Those who are without truth and righteousness are not fit to judge others. If this work were done by the Spirit of God, then it would not mean victory over Satan. The Spirit is inherently more exalted than mortal beings, and the Spirit of God is inherently holy, and triumphant over the flesh. If the Spirit did this work directly, He would not be able to judge all of man’s disobedience and could not reveal all of man’s unrighteousness. For the work of judgment is also carried out through man’s notions about God, and man has never had any notions about the Spirit, and so the Spirit is incapable of better revealing the unrighteousness of man, much less of completely disclosing such unrighteousness. The incarnate God is the enemy of all those who do not know Him. Through judging man’s notions and opposition to Him, He discloses all the disobedience of mankind. The effects of His work in the flesh are more apparent than those of the work of the Spirit. And so, the judgment of all mankind is not carried out directly by the Spirit but is the work of the incarnate God.
The best thing about His work in the flesh is that He can leave accurate words and exhortations, and His specific will for mankind to those who follow Him, so that afterward His followers can more accurately and more concretely pass on all of His work in the flesh, and His will for the whole of mankind, to those who accept this way. Only the work of God in the flesh among man truly accomplishes the fact of God’s being together and living together with man. Only this work fulfills man’s desire to behold the face of God, witness the work of God, and hear the personal word of God. The incarnate God brings to an end the age when only the back of Jehovah appeared to mankind, and He also concludes the age of mankind’s belief in the vague God. In particular, the work of the last incarnate God brings all mankind into an age that is more realistic, more practical, and more beautiful. He not only concludes the age of law and rules but, more importantly, He reveals to mankind a God who is real and normal, who is righteous and holy, who unlocks the work of the management plan and who demonstrates the mysteries and destination of mankind, who created mankind and brings to an end the management work, and who has remained hidden for thousands of years. He brings the age of vagueness to a complete end, He concludes the age in which the whole of mankind wished to seek God’s face but was unable to, He ends the age in which the whole of mankind served Satan, and He leads the whole of mankind all the way into a completely new era. All this is the outcome of the work of God in the flesh in place of God’s Spirit. When God works in His flesh, those who follow Him no longer seek and grope after those things which seem to both exist and not exist, and they cease to guess at the will of the vague God. When God spreads His work in the flesh, those who follow Him shall pass on the work that He has done in the flesh to all religions and denominations, and they shall communicate all of His words to the ears of the whole of mankind. All that is heard by those who receive His gospel shall be the facts of His work, shall be things personally seen and heard by man, and shall be facts and not hearsay. These facts are the evidence with which He spreads the work, and they are also the tools that He uses in spreading the work. Without the existence of facts, His gospel would not spread across all countries and to all places; without facts but only with man’s imaginings, He would never be able to do the work of conquering the entire universe. The Spirit is impalpable to man, and invisible to man, and the work of the Spirit is incapable of leaving any further evidence or facts of God’s work for man. Man shall never behold the real face of God, he shall always believe in a vague God that does not exist. Man shall never behold the face of God, nor will man ever hear words personally spoken by God. Man’s imaginings are, after all, empty, and cannot replace the true face of God; the inherent disposition of God, and the work of God Himself, cannot be impersonated by man. The invisible God in heaven and His work can only be brought to earth by God incarnate who personally does His work among man. This is the most ideal way for God to appear to man, in which man sees God and comes to know the true face of God, and it cannot be achieved by a non-incarnate God.
This time around, God comes to do work not in a spiritual body, but in a very ordinary one. Moreover, not only is it the body of God’s second incarnation, it is also the body through which God returns to the flesh. It is a very ordinary flesh. You cannot see anything that makes Him stand out from others, but you can gain from Him previously unheard-of truths. This insignificant flesh is what embodies all the words of truth from God, undertakes God’s work in the last days, and expresses the whole of God’s disposition for man to understand. Do you not desire greatly to see the God in heaven? Do you not desire greatly to understand the God in heaven? Do you not desire greatly to see the destination of mankind? He will tell you all these secrets—secrets that no man has been able to tell you, and He will also tell you of the truths that you do not understand. He is your gate into the kingdom, and your guide into the new age. Such an ordinary flesh holds many unfathomable mysteries. His deeds may be inscrutable to you, but the entire goal of the work He does is sufficient enough to allow you to see that He is not, as people believe, a simple flesh. For He represents the will of God and the care shown by God toward mankind in the last days. Though you cannot hear His words seeming to shake the heavens and earth, though you cannot see His eyes as a flame of fire, and though you cannot receive the discipline of His iron rod, nevertheless you can hear from His words that God is wrathful and know that God is showing compassion for mankind; you can see the righteous disposition of God and His wisdom, and, moreover, realize God’s solicitude for all mankind. The work of God in the last days is to allow man to see the God in heaven living among men on earth, and to enable man to know, obey, fear, and love God. This is why He has returned to the flesh for a second time. Though what man sees this day is a God that is the same as man, a God with a nose and two eyes, and an unremarkable God, in the end, God will show you that if this man did not exist, heaven and earth would undergo a tremendous change; if this man did not exist, the heavens would grow dim, the earth would be plunged into chaos, and all mankind would live amid famine and plagues. He will show you that if God incarnate did not come to save you in the last days, then God would have long ago destroyed all mankind in hell; if this flesh did not exist, then you would forever be arch-sinners, and you would be corpses evermore. You should know that if this flesh did not exist, all mankind would face an ineluctable calamity and find it impossible to escape the even more severe punishment that God metes out to mankind in the last days. Had this ordinary flesh not been born, you would all be in a state where you beg for life without being able to live and pray for death without being able to die; if this flesh did not exist, then you would not be able to gain the truth and come before the throne of God today, but rather, you would be punished by God because of your grievous sins. Did you know that were it not for the return of God to the flesh, none would have a chance at salvation; and were it not for the coming of this flesh, God would have long ago put an end to the age of old? This being so, are you still able to reject the second incarnation of God? Since you can derive so many benefits from this ordinary man, why would you not gladly accept Him?
All of God’s work in the last days is done through this ordinary man. He will bestow everything upon you, and what is more, He will be able to decide everything relating to you. Can such a man be as you believe Him to be: a man so simple as to be unworthy of mention? Is His truth not enough to utterly convince you? Is witness of His deeds not enough to utterly convince you? Or is it that the path He brings is not worthy for you to walk on? When all is said and done, what is it that causes you to abhor Him and to cast Him away and give Him a wide berth? It is this man who expresses the truth, it is this man who provides the truth, and it is this man who gives you a path to follow. Could it be that you are still unable to find the traces of God’s work within these truths? Without the work of Jesus, mankind could not have come down from the cross, but without the incarnation of today, those who come down from the cross could never gain God’s approval or enter into the new age. Without the coming of this ordinary man, you would never have the opportunity to see the true countenance of God, nor would you be qualified to, for you are all objects that should have long ago been destroyed. Because of the coming of the second incarnation of God, God has forgiven you and shown you mercy. Regardless, the words I must leave you with in the end are still these: This ordinary man, who is God incarnate, is of vital importance to you. This is the great thing that God has already done among men.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Did You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men
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