I’ve Welcomed the Lord’s Return!

February 12, 2022

By Li Deming, China

My family has been Catholic for four generations, and in the late 70s, my family established a gathering place. At the time, both my father and uncle served as church deans. On the eve of every major holy day, my family 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 that the last days were already upon us, and we had to be on alert all the time, keep our souls cleansed and not commit any major sins, because the Lord could come 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, just longing 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 reading Scriptures, in services, and I delivered sermons. Then in the Spring of 1999, our priest gave me a gospel leaflet from Hong Kong and told me to mobilize everyone with the news that the Lord’s return was imminent. I rushed to organize general gatherings for everyone, and asked them to pray and read Scripture three times a day. I also told them about the signs of the Lord’s coming explained in the Bible. I said, “Fellow faithful, the Lord is about to return. He already has one foot on this side of the door, and will soon be before us. 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). We can see that 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 great glory 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 it excitedly. Some said, “Yes, it’ll be the year 2000 in just a few months. The Lord is about to return! We need to read more Scripture and stop coveting worldly things.” And some said, “I have to share the gospel with friends and family right away so their souls can be saved and they’ll go to heaven.”

November came in no time at all, and I started noticing my wife seemed a little different from usual. She went to Sister Tian’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 kind of confused, wondering if she’d converted to another denomination. One afternoon, my wife came home and asked me something. She said, “We’ve been believers for a long time 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 is definitely coming with 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 blindly determine that He wouldn’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’re likely to 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. I was worried she’d been led astray, so I told her about prophecies of the second coming, saying, “After the Lord Jesus was crucified and then resurrected, He went up into the heaven in spirit form. When He returns, He’ll come back in spirit form, coming with the clouds in all glory. How could He come back in the flesh? The Bible says, ‘Behold, He cometh 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 none of these signs have appeared at all. How could you say He’s already come?” She heard me out, then responded very calmly, “The Lord’s prophecies are all hidden mysteries. If we explain them literally, 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 He wasn’t any kind of ruler. The Pharisees saw Jesus’ birth and work didn’t fit with their ideas at all, so they absolutely refused to accept that He was the coming of the Messiah, and they fought and condemned Him. We can’t make the same mistake as the Pharisees!” I got annoyed when she said that, thinking I was the church dean and more educated than her, but she just refused to listen to me, even saying I’d misinterpreted the Lord’s prophecies. My face darkened and I said to her angrily, “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 surprisingly, she said resolutely, “What I’ve investigated is clear, and my faith is in the returned Lord. If you don’t believe, that’s your business, but don’t stand in my way.” I was absolutely furious when she said that. In an effort to save her, I found a couple other church deans to try to stop her. One of the deans said to her really confidently, “We both come from a long line of Catholics, and we know it’s the only correct religion. Christianity came from a split in the Catholic Church. When the Lord returns, all the other denominations will come back to Catholicism. That’s called the Union of Christendom. You know about this, right?” I was surprised to hear my wife say, “Is there any basis for all denominations coming back to the Catholic Church when the Lord returns? Did the Lord Jesus ever say that? Do the Christian 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 returns and does the work of reunification, it isn’t Christianity returning to Catholicism or vice versa, but it’s true believers from all denominations coming before God’s throne. By all beliefs becoming one 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 new and enlightening to me, and for a moment I really didn’t know what to say. I saw the two 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, when the time comes all will return to Catholicism. Those who turn their backs on Catholicism have betrayed God, and their souls won’t go to heaven. You people have been led astray. I advise you to go to confession immediately. It’s not too late to turn back.” She responded very 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 stop me.” I got those two deans to give her some advice, but I never imagined that not only could they not convince her, but that they’d have no way to refute her. After that, my wife’s faith grew even stronger. She said that at first she felt a little constrained by me and had some concerns, but when the deans tried to stand in her way, she clearly saw that they didn’t understand the truth, they were really arrogant, and didn’t want to humbly seek. So she felt freed from constraints and was even more determined to follow Almighty God. She kept attending gatherings every single day.

Something that confused me was that she wasn’t very educated, and didn’t know the Bible very well, so how could those two deans be so dumbfounded by her arguments? What sorts of sermons was she listening to that were so incredible? I thought carefully over what she’d said, and felt there was something to it. Did what she believes in really come from the Holy Spirit? I figured that wasn’t possible. If it did, then our priests should know all about it, so why hadn’t they mentioned it? I went to talk to my brother-in-law about it. He was a church dean, too. But before I could even finish what I had to say, he interrupted me angrily, saying, “The Lord can’t possibly return in the flesh! There’s a church called Eastern Lightning. They say the Lord has returned in the flesh and He’s called Almighty God. Their teachings are really elevated and they’ve stolen away lots of our ardent believers. Over a dozen just from our church have been misled, and even one priest. They won’t come back no matter what we do.” And he specifically told me not to listen to what they preached, no matter what. That’s when 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. On my way home, I started thinking over what my brother-in-law had said. I was feeling pretty curious and I had this kind of defiant feeling about it. I wondered what all Eastern Lightning had to say. Why would so many believers go over to them? No matter how good their sermons were, could they really surpass our Catholic truths? If I had the chance, I wanted to see what they were actually preaching.

I started reading the Bible more so I’d be more equipped to refute anyone from Eastern Lightning. I searched over and over for prophecies related to the Lord’s return, and I saw this one: “My sheep hear My voice: and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). While reading this, I was thinking about how many ardent believers accepted Eastern Lightning after hearing what they preached, and refused to turn back. That was quite telling! Also, they were all long-time Catholics with insight and a strong foundation in the faith. They must have investigated before following Eastern Lightning. It occurred to me that maybe that book they read did contain the truth, that it was the voice of God. And if I didn’t check it out, how would I know if it really did come from God or not? Later, I decided to see what it was all about, and if there was truth in it and it accorded with the Bible, I’d keep on investigating. If it contradicted the Catholic faith, I could still reject it.

There was one morning right after breakfast when I didn’t see my wife around anywhere. I knew she was at Sister Tian’s house again. I thought to myself that it must be really enticing if she was going to gatherings every day! I wanted to see what they were actually saying. When I got to Sister Tian’s house, I not only saw a few other parishioners, but also Brother Wang, who was in his 50s. 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 give me discernment so I wouldn’t be misled. Brother Wang fellowshiped, “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 10 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 a sin offering, redeeming people from condemnation under the law. 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. For example, the Lord said, ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15). ‘Be you then also ready: for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come’ (Luke 12:40). Here, ‘you think not,’ and ‘as a thief,’ are about ‘the Son of man’ coming in secret when people aren’t expecting it. Any mention of ‘the Son of man’ refers to God’s incarnation. Just like the Lord Jesus—He was born of man, born into a family of common people. He looked just like a regular person, but His essence was divine. He was the incarnation of God Himself.” Hearing Brother Wang continue to testify that God had come back in the flesh was kind of irritating for me, and I didn’t want to hear any more. So I stood up from the sofa and said with a serious look, “I can’t accept what you’re saying about God returning in the flesh. The Bible clearly prophesies, ‘Ye 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 Lord went up into heaven in spirit form, so when He returns, it should be in spirit form, coming down in all glory. The Lord already died for us on the cross, taking on unimaginable suffering. He’s not going to return in the flesh.” In response, Brother Wang said to me calmly, “Let’s sit down and fellowship more on this. The truths in God’s words can resolve all our doubts.” I was thinking that Brother Wang’s fellowship was great, that I couldn’t outdo him with my knowledge of the Bible. If I couldn’t evaluate things clearly and was misled, I could lose my chance to be saved and enter the kingdom. I figured I couldn’t listen any more, but I had to go home and really pore over the Bible first. So, I found an excuse and left.

I didn’t listen to everything he had to say, but after going home, whenever I thought about the idea of the Lord returning in the flesh, 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! Besides, if the Lord really had returned and I didn’t look into it, I could lose my chance to welcome the Lord. But if Eastern Lightning wasn’t the true way and I ended 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 have much of an appetite and couldn’t sleep well. I was feeling really miserable. So, 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 guide me. Don’t let me lose my way and take the wrong path.”

After that, I started reading 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, and that they will be blessed. For example, the Lord said, “And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye 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 watcheth, and keepeth 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 cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh, 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 about 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 when people don’t expect it. What they were saying about the Lord coming in secret to save mankind really was accurate. It fit with the Bible’s prophecies! If I could welcome the Lord’s secret coming, wouldn’t I become one of the blessed? I gave thanks for the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment that allowed me to discover this mystery. I kept searching through the Bible, and found this, said by the Lord Jesus: “For as the lightning that lighteneth from under heaven, shineth 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 always believed the Lord would return in spirit form, but the Lord clearly said, “first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.” In spirit form, how could He suffer, or be rejected by people? Only God’s incarnation would suffer. Could it be that Eastern Lightning was right that the Lord had become flesh and returned as the Son of man? But then I remembered Revelation 1:7 that says, “Behold, He cometh 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 with the clouds, and everyone will see Him when He takes us up. If the Lord came in the flesh in secret, how could that Bible verse be explained? Aren’t the prophecies of coming in secret and of coming with the clouds contradictory? I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

New Year’s Day for the year 2000 passed in the blink of an eye, but my long-cherished hope of the Lord coming down from the sky didn’t come to fruition. I knew the signs of the Lord’s return had all basically been fulfilled. It was then that I started to question the idea of the Lord coming from the sky with 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 that. I also prayed to the Lord Jesus, “Lord, the millennium has come, but I haven’t seen You come on a cloud. I’m disappointed and in pain. Oh Lord, now only Eastern Lightning bears witness that You’ve returned in the flesh. Have You really come back? Please enlighten me so that I can recognize Your work.” I really wanted to hear more of Brother Wang’s fellowship because I was thinking that if Eastern Lightning truly is the Lord’s return, I figured I’d be eliminated 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 Brother Wang 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 cometh 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 with 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—what does it mean?”

He read me a couple passages of Almighty God’s words. 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 Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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” (“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, he 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. This is God’s Spirit becoming flesh, expressing truths and doing the work of judgment and cleansing, ultimately completing a group of overcomers. Then the work of God’s secret incarnation will be concluded. He will rain down the great disasters, rewarding good and punishing evil. Once the great disasters end, God will come on a cloud, appearing to all peoples of all nations. This 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 on a cloud should be a time of great jubilation for everyone, so why did He say they’d be mourning? 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 be done. Since they refused to accept anything other than Jesus coming on a cloud, they missed their chance at God’s salvation. That’s why they’ll be weeping and gnashing 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 eliminate people. All those who hear God’s voice and accept Him during the time when He works in the flesh and expresses truths come before God’s throne and experience judgment before the seat of Christ. Those who can rid themselves of corruption and be cleansed through God’s judgment will receive God’s protection through the disasters and survive. But the evil people who don’t love the truth and resist God will be eliminated through the work of God’s incarnation and ultimately punished in the great disasters. That is, God’s work in secret separates the goats from the sheep, the wheat from the tares, the true believers from the false ones, the righteous from the evil—all this is revealed. All will be 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 righteous, unoffendable disposition left me trembling with fear. I knew if I clung to the notion of the Lord returning with the clouds and didn’t accept the truths expressed by the Lord’s incarnation, I’d lose my chance at salvation! At the time, I felt that Almighty God’s words really were the truth. That day I learned the mystery of the Lord’s return from reading just a few passages of His words. No wonder so many believers refused to come back after accepting Almighty God.

I asked Brother Wang a few more questions. I said, “Jesus appeared to His disciples for 40 days after His resurrection, and then He ascended up into the sky in His resurrected spiritual body. We’ve always thought that when the Lord returns to judge the world, 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. Is there a biblical basis for this?” He said, “There are biblical prophecies about God becoming flesh to perform the work of judgment. For example, ‘For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27). ‘For neither doth the Father judge any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son’ (John 5:22). ‘And He hath given Him power to do judgment, because He is the Son of man’ (John 5:27). ‘He that despiseth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth 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. This shows us that in the last days, God’s Spirit becomes flesh 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, to cleanse and save people, leading man to enter into all truths. This is the work of God’s secret coming. As for the unbelievers, God 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.” So after that, Brother Wang talked to 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.

He read me a couple passages of Almighty God’s words. 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.” “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 Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

Then he fellowshiped with me, “We can see from Almighty 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 our corruption. We’re arrogant, selfish, and cunning, we lie and cheat, we’re jealous, we’re hateful. In the face of disaster, or when there’s hardship in our family, we tend to complain, blame and judge God, or even fight against 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? The Lord Jesus prophesied that when He returned in the last days, He’d express truths and do the work of judgment to cleanse and transform man so that people can cast off their corruption, be cleansed, and enter God’s kingdom. His judgment work of the last days is to purify and save people. That’s why He needs to carry out this work in the flesh. 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. And God’s Spirit speaking to man would be like thunder and lightning. Not only would we not understand, but it would terrify us. That kind of judgment of mankind wouldn’t achieve the desired aims.” Then he gave me 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, we could get close to it and help it, and it wouldn’t be afraid or resist us. Just the same, 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, exposing our rebelliousness and corruption, plus our sinful nature of opposing God. He displays His righteous disposition to us so we can see God is very real, vivid and lifelike. Then He can also very clearly share with us His will and demands, and the truths we should practice and enter into, showing us the path to change our dispositions and be cleansed.” Then Brother Wang fellowshiped on something else with me. “In the last days, God doing His judgment 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 what the Lord Jesus preached was authoritative and powerful, but they saw He didn’t look like a great man, and He was the son of a carpenter. What He said and did didn’t fit with their notions and imaginings, so they refused to even look into it, but just fought and condemned Him, and kept others from seeking 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 the way He’s come isn’t in line with our notions, we delimit God out of our arrogance. The clergy of the religious world are particularly acting as minions of Satan, spreading rumors to keep believers from looking into God’s work of the last days. Just imagine, 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? And so, 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 corruption and essence of their defiance against God through His judgment and revelations. Ultimately they’re conquered and cleansed through His words. They gain God’s salvation and enter into a beautiful destination. But those who cling to their notions and imaginings, who refuse to accept the truth, but insist on fighting God, will be fully revealed by God to be the tares. Not only will they not be saved, but God will condemn and curse them, just like the Pharisees. So, God incarnate coming to do His judgment work in the last days is full of mercy and salvation for man, as well as God’s wisdom.”

Brother Wang’s fellowship was really enlightening for me. I thought of the Age of Law. When Yahweh appeared and spoke to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai, they all heard God’s voice as if it were thunder and they were filled with fear. They said to Moses, “Speak thou 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 remembered, when I first heard the news that the Lord has returned in the flesh, I was filled with notions and resistance, and I was incredibly arrogant. Without looking into it, I blindly assumed that the Lord couldn’t possibly return in the flesh. I sealed off the church, kept others from investigating it, and tried to stop my wife from attending gatherings. How were my actions any different from the Pharisees’, when they resisted Jesus? I was so arrogant and rebellious. If God’s Spirit did the work of judgment, He’d certainly destroy me. That’s when I realized that God incarnate performing the work of judgment really is God’s best salvation for man.

Brother Wang 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 mysteries of God’s incarnations, the mysteries of His names and three stages of work, and how to discern the true Christ from false ones, what kinds of people God saves, and what kinds of people He eliminates, and more. The more I read His words, the better I understood God’s work and His will. So many things became clear that I’d never understood before. It was so spiritually nourishing for me. I felt sure in my heart that Almighty God is the way, the truth, and the life, the one true God. Only God can express the truth, and He’s the eternal fount of sustenance we need in our lives. Almighty God is the Lord returned!

I used to stick with the literal words of the Bible, and I pigeonholed God based on my notions and illusions. I didn’t look into God’s new work, but stubbornly rejected the Lord’s return. I nearly became a foolish virgin, missing my chance to welcome the returned Lord. If God hadn’t guided and saved me in time, I would have been ruined by my notions. It’s all thanks to God’s mercy and salvation that I could welcome His return. I’m really grateful to God!

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I Welcomed the Return of the Lord (Audio Essay)

The churches at present are as desolate as the temple was, and it’s also because God is doing new work. The Lord Jesus that we have been desperately waiting for is now incarnated in human form and returns among us. He has taken the name Almighty God to express the truth and do the work of judging, cleansing and saving man in the last days. He has come to conclude the Age of Grace and begin the Age of Kingdom.

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