How I Should Welcome the Lord

October 21, 2022

By Jenny, the Philippines

I was born into a Catholic family, and from a young age, I followed the practices of Catholicism and longed for the Lord’s return. As I grew up, I began to read the Bible more often in an attempt to understand more of the truths. Our priest would also interpret the scriptures for us, such as Revelation 1:7: “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.” Our priest told us that when the Lord returns, He will descend upon a cloud, and that all will see Him. But then I read this Bible verse when I was 20: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36). This verse says that when the Lord returns, nobody will know about it, but the priest had told us that when the Lord returns, He will descend upon a cloud and be seen by everybody. What could this mean? How exactly would the Lord return? I was so confused. At a gathering, I sought out another priest, but he just told me, “The Bible is perfectly clear: When the Lord returns, He will descend upon a cloud. There’s no need to go into this too much. As long as you believe in it, that’s fine.” I was really disappointed in the priest’s attitude. I yearned to understand the true meaning of the prophecy, but in the Catholic Church, we just spent our days praying and observing rites. However, these things didn’t give me any sustenance or understanding of the Lord’s word. I slowly lost interest in the Catholic Church and only kept going to Mass out of habit.

In 2001, I went abroad for work. One day, a colleague invited me to attend a Christian gathering. I thought maybe I could learn about the truth there, so I asked the pastor to resolve my confusion. The pastor answered without a second thought: “The Bible is very clear on this, so there’s no need for unnecessary explanations. When the Lord returns, we will of course see Him descend upon a cloud.” I was very disappointed in the pastor’s answer and my problem remained unresolved. Over time, I found that I couldn’t find any sustenance in this denomination either and I began to feel more and more empty inside. My desire to find answers only grew stronger and stronger. So I started visiting other Christian organizations, but none of them could resolve my confusion. I urgently prayed to the Lord: “Oh Lord, please help me find the right church, the right person to guide me, so that I may understand the truth and resolve my confusion.”

Then, one day in January 2019, which is really a special day for me, a sister from Australia added me as a friend on Facebook. I saw some of the articles that she was sharing on her timeline, such as “What Is a Wise Virgin,” “How to Have Your Prayers Heard by God,” and so on. Their content was all very novel to me, and I felt that there was truth in them, that this sister’s church might be able to answer my questions. Later, she asked me if I’d like to attend a gathering, and I agreed happily. In the gathering, Sister Camela said, “Today we will fellowship on how exactly the Lord comes in the last days.” I was pretty surprised to hear her say this. Wasn’t this what I had been confused about this whole time? I couldn’t wait for her fellowship. Sister Camela said: “When they read 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), a lot of people think that when the Lord returns, He will descend upon a cloud and be seen by all, and in a truly magnificent spectacle, the stars will fall from the sky and the heavens and earth will tremble. But is this view correct? In fact, the Bible has other verses that provide prophecies of the Lord’s return, like ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15), and ‘But of that day and hour knows no man, not the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but My Father only’ (Matthew 24:36). These verses say of the Lord’s return that He will come ‘as a thief’ and no one will know when. These verses tell us that the Lord will come quietly, in secret, and nobody will know of His return. If when He returns, the Lord were to appear before man upon a cloud for everybody to see, how would these other prophecies be fulfilled?” I was shocked by what the sister said. This was the first time I was hearing of the Lord coming quietly and “as a thief.” How could the priests and the pastors not have mentioned this? But if He were to “come as a thief,” didn’t this contradict the prophecy of Him returning by descending upon a cloud? I really wanted to be clear on this. The sister continued in her fellowship: “The fact is, the prophecies of the Lord’s return will all be fulfilled. It’s just a matter of process and sequence. First, He will come by incarnating in secret, issuing truths to cleanse and save humanity, then, He will descend upon the clouds to appear openly before all peoples and all nations. This is how all the prophecies of His return will be fulfilled.” This sister’s fellowship was really eye-opening for me. It turned out the Lord returns in two ways. I wholeheartedly agreed with her explanation. I really wanted to find out more, so I asked her, “You just mentioned the Lord coming in secret in the flesh. What did you mean by this?” The sister read me a few verses from the Bible: “Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not” (Luke 12:40). “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). “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37). The sister then fellowshiped, “Do you see what the keyword of all these verses is? These verses all mention ‘the Son of man.’ They show that when the Lord returns, He will descend in secret as the Son of man. So what is meant by ‘the Son of man’? This refers to God’s incarnation. If He were a Spirit He could not be called the Son of man, just as Jehovah God was a Spirit and cannot be called the Son of man. The Lord Jesus is referred to as the Son of man because He was the incarnation of the Spirit of God. Though He looked like an ordinary person, was born of a human, and had normal humanity, within Him dwelt the Spirit of God—He was the incarnation of God. Therefore, the Lord Jesus prophesied of His return as ‘the coming of the Son of man,’ showing that when He returns, He will appear in the flesh and not directly as a spiritual body.” Through the sister’s fellowship, I came to understand the true meaning of “the Son of man.” I also learned that the Lord descending in secret refers to God appearing by incarnating. This fellowship aligned with the Bible. The sister continued in her fellowship, “Therefore, when the Lord returns, He first descends in secret by incarnating, issues truths and performs the work of judgment starting with the house of God to cleanse and save all those who have been raised up before His throne, and to make a group of overcomers before the disaster. Once this group of overcomers has been made, the great disaster will come, and God will begin punishing the evil and rewarding the good. God will then descend upon a cloud and appear openly before mankind, and at this time, all mankind shall cry out. And why will they do this? Because when God descends secretly in the flesh, many do not recognize Him as God. They see He looks ordinary, not lofty, so they do not treat Him as God. Not only do they not accept Him, but they condemn, resist, and reject Him. Then when the Lord openly descends upon a cloud to reward the good and punish the evil, they will see that they were actually condemning and resisting the returned Lord Jesus, but by then it will be too late, and all they can do is weep and gnash their teeth. At this time the prophecy of Revelation 1:7, ‘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,’ will be completely fulfilled! Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for us to welcome the Lord as He comes to work in the flesh. If we wait until He descends upon a cloud, it will be too late.” After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I felt as if I had finally been freed from a prison I had been held captive in for so long. I’d seen the light and felt truly liberated. The sister’s fellowship resolved my confusion and allowed me to understand the mysteries of the Lord’s return. I felt that her church had the work of the Holy Spirit and I couldn’t wait for the next gathering.

What I hadn’t expected was that during the next gathering, she told me a shocking piece of information. She said, “The Lord has already returned and has incarnated as Almighty God. He has issued many truths and has been doing the work of judgment starting from the house of God.…” Hearing this, I was joyously surprised, excited, and very curious. If the Bible said that nobody would know of the Lord’s return, how did they know? I asked the sister about this. She fellowshiped with me patiently, “If nobody knew of His return, how would we welcome Him? In fact, the Bible says: ‘But of that day and hour knows no man, not the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but My Father only’ (Matthew 24:36). The meaning of this verse is that nobody knows the specific time of the Lord’s return, but when He begins to speak and work, people can recognize God’s voice from His words, then will know that the Lord has returned, and thus welcome the Lord. This fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecies, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27) and ‘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). This is just like when the Lord Jesus came to work. Peter, John, James, Matthew, and the others initially did not know that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, but after they came into contact with Him and recognized the voice of God from His words, they knew Him to be the Messiah. After this, Peter, John, and the others began spreading the Lord’s gospel far and wide. This is how the Lord’s salvation became known to more and more people, and gradually, the faithful spread across the globe. Therefore, our welcoming the Lord’s return does not hinge on whether we know when He will return, but rather on whether we can investigate when someone bears witness to the Lord’s return, and on whether we can recognize the Lord’s voice when He speaks. In this way, we can welcome the Lord.” The sister’s fellowship really resonated with me because through fellowship on the Lord’s word, my confusion was resolved. Before, I had always been confused, wondering, “How exactly should we welcome the Lord? Is it possible to make the Lord happy and welcome Him by spending one’s days routinely praying and observing rules?” But now I came to understand that only by listening out for God’s voice can one welcome the Lord’s return. I then felt that the enlightenment I had gained from those two gatherings far surpassed that which I had gained in all my years as a Catholic. I wanted to learn even more truths, as this would help me feel more certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord. So I asked the sister another question: “In the last days, the Lord first descends secretly in the flesh, and then later appears openly upon a cloud, this I understand, but why does the Lord incarnate first? Why doesn’t He just appear in spirit form directly?”

She fellowshiped, “God appearing in the flesh to work is entirely based on what’s needed for His work, as well as what corrupt mankind needs.” The sister then read me two passages of Almighty God’s word. “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. … 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 Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)). “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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God). The sister continued in her fellowship: “The Bible prophesied, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). Through these prophecies we know that when the Lord returns, He will issue more words and perform the work of judgment starting with God’s house. For this work to attain the best results, God must come and work in the flesh. Because God’s Spirit is invisible and intangible to us, and because a single word from God’s Spirit would throw us into panic and terror, we would not dare approach His Spirit, and we have no way to communicate with Him. How would we understand the truth that way? God coming to save mankind in the flesh is the way to achieve the best results. Living among us as the Son of man makes it very easy for us to engage with Him. Also, God can use human language to issue truths at any time and place, issue accurate statements to guide us, and resolve our questions and confusions. Then we need not fumble blindly or guess at what aligns with God’s will. Just like when the Lord Jesus came to work, Peter asked Him: ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?’ (Matthew 18:21). The Lord Jesus responded directly: ‘Not seven times, but seventy-seven times’ (Matthew 18:22). The Lord clearly told Peter how he should practice. This way, people can easily understand God’s will, and know how they should practice the truth. The Lord Jesus also used things that people would see and come into contact with in their everyday lives, things they could easily understand, to craft parables. For example, the parable of the leaven, the parable of the tares and wheat, the parable of the sower, the parable of the mustard seed, and so on. These allowed people to gain a better understanding of the truth, to understand what God wills and demands of humanity, as well as truly gain a sense of His kindness and approachability. These are all results of God’s words and work when He was incarnate. In the same way, Almighty God in the flesh speaks and works among humans, engages with them very practically, and speaks with them face-to-face. He reveals the mysteries of God’s 6,000-year management plan, the truth of His three stages of work, the mysteries of His incarnation, the truth of humanity’s corruption by Satan, and the endings of different types of people.… This allows us to gain a greater and deeper understanding of God’s disposition and work. At the same time, God issues truths at any time and place in accordance with mankind’s needs, reveals our satanic dispositions and our various notions and imaginings of Him, and corrects the deviations in our faith. Almighty God also gives us the paths by which to cast off evil and attain His salvation, for example, how to serve in line with His will, how to be an honest person, how to revere Him, obey Him, and love Him, and so on. Through the words of Almighty God we know more and more about our corrupt dispositions, hate ourselves from within, and truly repent. We also understand God’s will and requirements, gain some knowledge of His disposition, and who He saves, who He casts out. This is the only way we’re able to accurately practice the truth, and finally cast off evil and attain God’s salvation.”

After hearing this, I saw the light. I said to the sister: “I understand now. If God didn’t appear and work in the flesh, it’d be difficult for us to understand the truth, but God incarnating and speaking words with human language makes it easy for us to understand, and possible for us to accurately practice the truth and abide by God’s will.”

The sister then read me two more passages of Almighty God’s word. “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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Did You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men). “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?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Did You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men). The sister then fellowshiped: “God incarnate is the fount of all truths and our gateway into the kingdom. By accepting Almighty God, Christ of the last days, we have a chance to gain from Him all truths and an understanding of God’s righteous disposition. Only then can we gain God’s approval and enter the kingdom of heaven. Without God incarnate in the last days coming to do the judgment work to save humanity, we would be unable to cleanse and change our satanic dispositions, we would just continue to be corrupted by Satan, we would increasingly resist God, and eventually be destroyed in the calamity. Therefore, being able to welcome the Lord’s return and accept Almighty God’s work is a matter of life and death for us! We must be extremely cautious and seize hold of this impossibly rare opportunity! Those who only accept the Lord but not Christ in the last days will in the end be unable to attain salvation.”

Having listened to the sister reading the words of Almighty God, I felt that these words came from God, and that no ordinary person could utter them. From God’s word I also sensed His concern for humanity. God has incarnated on earth in the last days, personally issuing truths to save us from Satan’s corruption. God working in this way is all to save humanity. God’s love for us is so great! I was so excited, and felt truly blessed to hear God’s gospel in the last days. I just wanted to read more of Almighty God’s word, and I didn’t want to miss a single gathering. Even when I was busy with work or ill, I still wanted to attend gatherings because I hoped to understand even more truths. After that, I gathered with the others and fellowshiped on Almighty God’s word a lot, and I came to understand the difference between the true Christ and false ones, the mysteries of God’s incarnation, and the relationship between God and the Bible. I also watched a lot of films and videos from The Church of Almighty God, and saw that God had already created a group of overcomers in China. The prophecies of Revelation had been fulfilled. Through investigation, I became certain of God’s work in the last days, determined that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, and I welcomed the Lord! I was thrilled. For me, being able to welcome the Lord’s return is truly priceless. I wish to pursue the truth, do a duty to spread the word of God, bear testimony to God’s work, and bring more people who yearn for His appearance before Him. Thank Almighty God!

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