Can You Really Welcome the Lord by Gazing Skyward?
By Jin Cheng, South Korea
So many believers are waiting for the Lord Jesus to come down on a cloud to be taken into God’s kingdom before the disasters. But all this time while they’ve been watching disasters grow, the Lord Jesus still hasn’t come on a cloud. A lot of people’s faith has wavered. Some say that when the Lord comes is His own business, and we just need to wait. Others say that if He doesn’t come before the disasters, maybe He’ll come during or after them. What do these statements show? Don’t they show their faith is at rock bottom? They’ve lost faith, and they’re not seeking or looking into it, but just waiting for the disasters to befall. They don’t know what else to do. They’ve been gazing at the sky for years but still haven’t welcomed the Lord. Is that really the right approach? What is most crucial for welcoming the Lord? I remember the Lord Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). And it’s prophesied in many places in Revelation: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation Chapters 2, 3). These verses show that the key to welcoming the Lord’s coming is to seek what the Spirit says to the churches and listen for the voice of God. Those who hear the voice of God welcome the Lord, and they are the wise virgins. I didn’t understand this truth before but went by my notions and imaginings, just gazing at the sky. When I heard someone testify that the Lord Jesus had already returned and expressed many truths, I didn’t seek or investigate it, and I nearly missed my chance to welcome the Lord and be raptured.
In my old church, the pastor would always talk about Acts 1:11: “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.” That the Lord would come on a cloud when He returns so we need to be alert and pray to welcome the Lord. I was sure to read the Bible and pray every day, hoping the Lord would come on a cloud and take me up into His kingdom one of these days.
One day, I went to a friend’s house when he was in the middle of a Chinese medicine physiotherapy treatment. In our chat I found out that the physiotherapist, Mr. Zhang, was a Christian, so our conversation turned to the Bible. Brother Zhang mentioned something about God’s work of the last days and quoted a Bible verse: “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). Then he told me, “The Lord Jesus has already returned as Almighty God. He’s come in the flesh and expresses truths to do the work of judgment in the last days.” When I heard that the Lord had returned, I was both excited and shocked, thinking, “How wonderful that the Lord Jesus has come back! I’ve been longing for this day after day for years—He’s finally come!” But just as I was feeling happy I suddenly realized that Brother Zhang had said “in the flesh.” My heart started to pound right then because the pastor and elders always said that the Lord would come on a cloud, that any news of Him coming in the flesh was false, and we couldn’t be taken in. I got my guard up against Brother Zhang. I figured I’d been a believer for years and had read the Bible a lot but I’d never seen anything about the Lord returning in the flesh. So I said to him, “How is it possible that the Lord has returned in the flesh? It says in Acts 1:11: ‘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.’ And Revelation 1:7 says: ‘Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.’ We can see from these verses that the Lord left on a cloud, so when He comes He will also come on a cloud. You saying that the Lord has returned in incarnate form contradicts biblical prophecies.”
He then smiled and said to me, “Brother, the Bible does mention the Lord coming on a cloud, but there isn’t just one kind of prophecy about how the Lord will come. There are also a lot of prophecies about Him coming in secret in flesh as the Son of man in the last days.” He mentioned a few other verses: “I will come on you as a thief” (Revelation 3:3). “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). “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). There was also “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). Then he fellowshiped on these Bible verses, that the prophecies mentioning “as a thief” and “knows no man” mean the Lord comes in secret without anyone knowing about it, without anyone recognizing Him even if they see Him. The prophecies also mention “the Son of man” and the coming of the Son of man. Any reference to “the Son of man” means He’s born of man, He’s of flesh and blood and possesses normal humanity. The Lord Jesus was called Christ, the Son of man. He looked just like anybody else from the outside. He ate, dressed, and lived like a regular person alongside other people. If it were God’s Spirit or the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body after resurrection, He wouldn’t be called “the Son of man.” So mentioning the coming of the Son of man means the Lord returns in the flesh. “The Lord coming on a cloud would certainly be an impressive display that would rock the world. Everyone would fall to the ground and none would dare oppose Him. But think of the Lord’s prophecy: ‘But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.’ How would that be fulfilled? God can only suffer and be rejected of this generation if He appears and works in the flesh as the Son of man. It’s just like when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked. Those who couldn’t hear God’s voice and didn’t recognize the Lord Jesus’ divine essence clung to their notions, opposing and condemning Him. They ultimately had Him crucified. So when these prophecies mention the coming of the Son of man, ‘as a thief,’ and ‘be rejected of this generation,’ that’s all referring to the Lord returning in the flesh, in secret as the Son of man.” This fellowship was really surprising for me. I’d never imagined that there were so many biblical prophecies about the Lord returning to work as the Son of man. I wondered, “How have I never seen this after reading the Bible so many times? Why haven’t the pastor or elders ever mentioned this in any of their Bible talks?” They never talk about that. I had to admit that what Brother Zhang preached was lofty and that he had a unique understanding of the Bible that was irrefutable. But I thought about how the Bible really does talk about the Lord coming on a cloud and how the pastor and elders always said that anything else was false. I figured they knew the Bible really well, so they couldn’t possibly misunderstand it. But then again, Brother Zhang’s fellowship was in line with the Bible. I really didn’t know what to think. I just couldn’t make sense of it and I felt more unsettled the more I thought about it. I stopped really listening to his fellowship and found an excuse to leave.
I went back home but I just couldn’t get my feelings settled. Brother Zhang’s fellowship just kept echoing in my head over and over. I worried: “If the Lord really has come back and I don’t look into it, won’t I miss my chance to welcome Him?” But then I thought about the Bible saying He’d come on a cloud and the clergy saying that, too. I was afraid I’d go astray in my faith. I knew it was no small matter. Brother Zhang invited me to go to his church quite a few times after that. I was conflicted and couldn’t make up my mind. I ended up making the excuse that something had come up at home, but I felt that wasn’t in line with the Lord’s will and I wasn’t at peace. I prayed to the Lord, asking Him to grant me discernment and to guide me. To my surprise, Brother Zhang came by my house a few days later to see me. I felt pretty bad about having turned Brother Zhang down so many times, so I told him my problem. I said, “Brother Zhang, what you said last time about the Lord returning in the flesh in secret as the Son of man sounded like it agreed with the Bible, but there’s something I don’t understand. The Bible clearly states that the Lord will return on a cloud. It says in Revelation ‘Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him’ (Revelation 1:7). If the Lord has returned in the flesh like you say then how can this prophecy about Him coming on a cloud and everyone seeing Him be fulfilled? Isn’t that contradictory?”
Brother Zhang smiled and said in response, “All the prophecies about the Lord’s return will be fulfilled. There’s no contradiction. There’s just a sequence of events. God secretly incarnates as the Son of man first and then later openly appears on a cloud. While God is secretly working in the flesh He expresses truths to do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. Those who hear His voice and accept His work of the last days are the wise virgins who are raised up before His throne. They accept the judgment of God’s words and God makes them into overcomers before the disasters. Then He rains down disasters, rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. Once the disasters are over, He’ll openly appear on a cloud and then all those who opposed and condemned Christ of the last days will see Almighty God they condemned is none other than the Lord Jesus returned. They’ll beat their breasts, weep and gnash their teeth. That will fulfill the prophecy in Revelation: ‘Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him’ (Revelation 1:7).” After that, he read some of Almighty God’s words for me. “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 of life. And so it can only be that Jesus deals with them when He openly returns upon a white cloud. … 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” (“By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading God’s words, Brother Zhang said: “When waiting for the Lord’s coming, we have to be the wise virgins and listen for God’s voice. Almighty God does judgment work in the last days and expresses all truths which cleanse and save mankind. We have to seek and investigate this, and read Almighty God’s words to see if they’re the truth, if they’re God’s voice. We can’t just rely on our notions in this. The Jewish Pharisees relied on their notions blindly waiting for the Messiah and didn’t seek the truths expressed by the Lord Jesus. They opposed and condemned Him and had Him nailed to the cross. They offended God’s disposition and were cursed by Him. If we also go by our notions when investigating the Lord’s coming, insisting that He has to come on a cloud and anything else is false, and going along with the clergy to oppose and condemn God’s work of the last days, we’ll be making the same mistake as the Pharisees and committing a heinous sin. We may then weep and gnash our teeth, but it’ll be too late.”
After his fellowship I understood that the Lord’s coming occurs in stages. He does His judgment work in the flesh first and makes a group of overcomers, and then He comes openly on a cloud. The prophecies of the Lord’s coming will all be fulfilled, one after another. At that point I felt I’d been so foolish and blind. I didn’t understand the Bible after years of faith but just followed the clergy and my own notions. I didn’t seek to hear the Lord’s voice and welcome Him, but luckily God moved Brother Zhang to share the gospel with me over and over. Otherwise I would have missed the Lord’s return by clinging to my imaginings. I would be eliminated in the end. I told Brother Zhang, “Your fellowship has shown me how wise and practical God’s work is. Yes. God incarnate coming to work in secret really is our salvation. But there’s still something I don’t understand. You bear witness that the Lord has returned incarnate. What really is the incarnation? How can you be sure Almighty God really is God in the flesh?”
Brother Zhang read a couple passages of God’s words for me. “The ‘incarnation’ is God’s appearance in the flesh; God works among created mankind in the image of the flesh. So for God to be incarnated, He must first be flesh, flesh with normal humanity; this is the most basic prerequisite. In fact, the implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, that God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man” (“The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The Christ with normal humanity is a flesh in which the Spirit is realized, and is possessed of normal humanity, normal sense, and human thought. ‘Being realized’ means God becoming man, the Spirit becoming flesh; to put it more plainly, it is when God Himself inhabits a flesh with normal humanity, and through it expresses His divine work—this is what it means to be realized, or incarnated” (“The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The incarnate God is called Christ, and Christ is the flesh donned by the Spirit of God. This flesh is unlike any man that is of the flesh. This difference is because Christ is not of flesh and blood; He is the incarnation of the Spirit. He has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. His divinity is not possessed by any man. His normal humanity sustains all His normal activities in the flesh, while His divinity carries out the work of God Himself. Be it His humanity or divinity, both submit to the will of the heavenly Father. The substance of Christ is the Spirit, that is, the divinity. Therefore, His substance is that of God Himself; this substance will not interrupt His own work, and He could not possibly do anything that destroys His own work, nor would He ever utter any words that go against His own will” (“The Substance of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Then Brother Zhang said, “As believers, all of us know that the Lord Jesus was God incarnate but no one truly understands the truth regarding the incarnation. Now in the last days, Almighty God has revealed the truth and mystery of the incarnation to us. We can see from Almighty God’s words that the incarnation is God’s Spirit clothed in a normal human body coming to work among mankind. God incarnate looks just like a regular person. He doesn’t look supernatural and He eats and lives just like everyone else. He has a range of emotions like a normal person and people can approach Him, but God incarnate’s essence is divine. That’s why Christ can express the truth anytime, anywhere. He expresses God’s disposition, wisdom, and what He has and is and He does God’s own work. This is something no human being could achieve. It’s just like the Lord Jesus who looked totally normal from the outside and He lived a real life among humanity. But the Lord Jesus expressed many truths and gave mankind the way of repentance. He forgave people’s sins and expressed God’s disposition of lovingkindness and mercy. He also displayed many signs and wonders, like feeding the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes, calming the winds and seas, resurrecting the dead, and more. This fully revealed God’s authority and power. Ultimately, the Lord Jesus was crucified to complete the work of the redemption of mankind. This shows that the Lord Jesus’ work and words were God’s own work and words, that He was God in the flesh. So we can’t look at appearance to recognize God incarnate, but we have to listen for God’s voice. Christ’s work and words can show us the truth, God’s disposition, God’s wisdom and almightiness, and what He has and is. That’s how we can be sure that it’s the work and words of God in the flesh.”
His fellowship clarified things for me a bit. I realized that Christ looks like a normal person, neither great nor supernatural, but He has the essence of God. He is God’s Spirit clothed in regular flesh. I hadn’t understood these truths and mysteries after years of faith.
Brother Zhang continued his fellowship: “Almighty God reveals all the truths and mysteries of the incarnation to us. If Almighty God hadn’t spoken these words in the last days, corrupt mankind could’ve believed in the Lord forever without truly understanding the truth behind the incarnation and no one would’ve been able to figure it out. Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are the same. From the outside, they both look very normal, like nothing out of the ordinary, but Almighty God expresses all truths which cleanse and save mankind and He’s doing the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. He has revealed the mysteries of God’s 6,000-year management plan and the purpose of His work, the goals and significance of God’s three stages of work to save man, and the mysteries of the incarnation and God’s names, the story behind the Bible, how Satan corrupts mankind, the truth and essence of mankind’s corruption by Satan, the root of people opposing God and sinning, how God performs the work of judgment to fully cleanse and save mankind, how God sorts people according to their kind, how He determines everyone’s destination and outcome, and more. In God’s judgment work of the last days, He fully reveals His righteous disposition that brooks no offense.” At this point, Brother Zhang asked me, “Who aside from God could reveal the mysteries of His plan? Who could express the truth and God’s righteous disposition? Who could do the work of judgment to cleanse and save man once and for all?” I said, “Obviously only God could.” And he agreed, “Yes. Only God in the flesh could work and speak to save man in such a practical way! This is work done by God in a fleshly form as the Son of man. The more we read Almighty God’s words and the more we experience His work, the more we become certain that all words expressed by Almighty God are the truth and are God’s voice. Almighty God’s utterances are adequate proof that He is Christ of the last days, the appearance of the one true God!”
I was feeling so excited at this point. I said, “Brother, now I understand that God’s incarnation is the greatest mystery of the truth! God in the flesh mainly expresses all truths and does God’s work, so it’s critical that we listen for God’s voice to welcome the Lord. Whoever can express the truth and do God’s work is God in the flesh. By hearing God’s voice and accepting His new work, we welcome the Lord and are taken up before the Lord.” He said, “Your realization is entirely by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit!” I thought back on all the times I’d rejected Almighty God’s work and I hated myself for being so blind and foolish. I’d believed for years but still didn’t know the Lord. Instead I clung to my notions, stupidly waiting for the Lord to come on a cloud without trying to hear the Lord’s voice to welcome Him. When I heard someone testify that He’d returned and was expressing truths and doing the work of judgment in the last days, I didn’t look into it. I almost closed the door on the Lord. Then I became utterly certain that Almighty God who has revealed all these truths and mysteries is the Lord Jesus returned—He is God in the flesh. I really give thanks to God. God didn’t give up on me because of my rebelliousness but moved Brother Zhang to share the gospel with me over and over, so that I could hear God’s voice and keep pace with the footsteps of the Lamb. This really is God showing me boundless love! Thanks be to Almighty God!