Studying Eastern Lightning and Welcoming the Return of the Lord (Part 2)
By Jianchi, Taiwan
Why Has God Become Flesh to Perform His Work in the Last Days?
The brother went on, saying, “So then, why does the Lord have to appear and work in the flesh when He returns in the last days, and not appear and work directly in the resurrected spiritual body? In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus performed the work of redemption. Though our sins have been forgiven, our sinful nature remains deeply rooted within us, we are filled with such satanic dispositions as arrogance and conceit, selfishness and meanness and wickedness and deceitfulness, and we are still capable of involuntarily sinning and resisting God. If this carries on, then we will never be made clean, and we will be simply unworthy to enter into the heavenly kingdom. God is the Lord of creation and He is perfectly aware of the extent to which we have been corrupted by Satan. More than this, He knows what kind of work we need in order to thoroughly cast off the bonds of our sinful nature. The Lord Jesus therefore prophesied long ago: ‘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 Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son’ (John 5:22). ‘And has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man’ (John 5:27). The Lord Jesus tells us clearly that, when He returns in the last days, He shall speak His words and perform the work of judgment in order to change and cleanse our sinful nature, enable us to understand all truths and, from within these truths, find the path to change our dispositions until we are ultimately able to thoroughly cast off the bonds of sin and achieve purification. Because God will speak His words in the last days to judge and cleanse our corrupt dispositions, only by God becoming flesh can this work achieve the best results. Therefore, God does not perform His work in a spiritual body in the last days, but instead must become flesh to do it.”
After hearing this, I said, “Now I understood that God will speak His words in the last days to judge and cleanse our sinful nature. This is exactly what we need. But I am still confused about one thing: After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body appeared to His disciples for 40 days. Could not the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body after His resurrection also express the truth and perform the work of judging and purifying man?”
The brother continued his fellowship, saying, “We believe that the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body after His resurrection could also express the truth and perform the work of judging and purifying man, but have we ever considered whether or not the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus after His resurrection from death is able to have normal contact with man and carry out work in a practical manner? As we all know, the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body after He was resurrected from the dead appeared on the surface to be exactly the same as the flesh of Jesus had appeared before. His resurrected spiritual body, however, was not subject to any limitation of the material world, of geography or of space; He was able to pass through walls, He could appear to man at will and then disappear at will, much to the astonishment of those who witnessed it. For example, after the Lord Jesus was resurrected, though all doors were closed, He was able to suddenly appear standing in the midst of His disciples to speak to them, and they were both amazed and afraid, feeling that the Lord Jesus had become shrouded in mystery and unapproachable. If the Lord Jesus were to return in this kind of spiritual body to perform the work of judgment, then not only would people be afraid to draw near Him, but the world would be thrown into chaos, and then God’s work of judgment in the last days would be unable to proceed properly. Back then, the Lord Jesus was resurrected from the dead and appeared to man for 40 days. He ate with them and spoke with them, and He allowed Thomas to touch His wounds that had been caused by the nails. This was all done to verify that the Lord truly had returned from the dead and so that people could all accept and confirm from the bottom of their hearts that the Lord Jesus was the incarnated Christ, that He was God Himself, and thereby strengthen their faith. In the last days, however, God performs the work of judgment and purification—He exposes the goats, the sheep, the wheat and the tares. If He were to work in the spiritual body of the resurrected Lord Jesus, everyone would bow down trembling in great fear to worship God, no one would dare reveal any corruption, no one would have any conceptions about God or any rebelliousness or resistance to God, and all would acknowledge that He is God. In that case, there would be no way to expose people and no way to separate the good from the wicked. In the last days, God expresses the truth to judge and purify man, and only by God incarnate performing this kind of work can optimum results be achieved. Because God incarnate possesses normal humanity, man treats Christ as an ordinary person, so much so that they may even have no respect for Christ, and will reveal all manner of conceptions, rebelliousness and resistance to Christ. It is in this way that God judges and exposes man according to the truth of mankind’s corruption and, when faced with the facts, man can only become wholly and utterly convinced and dutifully accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. Otherwise, though God may expose mankind’s rebelliousness and corruption, man would only acknowledge them verbally at most, we would not accept them in our hearts and our corrupt dispositions would remain rooted within us. In that case, the results of the work of judging and purifying man would not be achieved. Therefore, God’s work of judgment in the last days must be done by God incarnating and performing the work in a body which possesses normal humanity in order for the optimum results to be achieved. If God worked in a spiritual body, then people would find it hard to draw close to Him and it would not facilitate the work of exposing man’s corruption. This is a fact we must understand. Let’s read several more passages of God’s words and then it’ll be a lot clearer. Sister Jianchi, why don’t you read?”
I nodded happily, and read: “The reason why He becomes flesh is because the flesh can also possess authority, and He is capable of carrying out work in a practical manner among mankind, in such a way that it is visible and tangible to man. This work is much more realistic than the work done directly by the Spirit of God, who possesses all authority, and its results are also apparent. This is because God’s incarnate flesh can speak and work in a practical way. The outward form of His flesh holds no authority, and can be approached by man, whereas His substance does carry authority, but His authority is visible to none. When He speaks and works, man is unable to detect the existence of His authority; this facilitates Him in doing work of a practical nature. … If God did not become flesh, He would remain the Spirit who is both invisible and intangible to man. Man being a creature of flesh, he and God belong to two different worlds and are possessed of different natures. The Spirit of God is incompatible with man, who is of flesh, and there is simply no way of establishing relations between them, not to mention that man is incapable of turning into a spirit. This being so, the Spirit of God must become a created being in order to do His original work. God can both ascend to the highest place and humble Himself to become a human creature, doing work among mankind and living in their midst, but man cannot ascend to the highest place and become a spirit, and even less can he descend to the lowest place. This is why God must become flesh to carry out His work” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“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. … If this work were done by the Spirit of God, then it would not be 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 conceptions of God, and man has never had any conceptions of 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 conceptions 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” (“Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“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).
The brother continued with his fellowship, saying, “The words of Almighty God clearly explain why God incarnates in the last days to perform His work, as well as explaining the necessity of the incarnation. God incarnate can not only sympathize with the weaknesses of man, but He can also express the truth using human language; He can also tell man His will, His requirements and His attitude toward man, thus allowing us to better understand His will. At the same time, God exposes and dissects the truth of our corruption at the hands of Satan as well as the essence of our God-resisting nature, and He also shows us the path to changing our dispositions. This is much more beneficial to us understanding the truth, knowing God and to casting off our corrupt dispositions and achieving purification. When the Lord Jesus incarnated to perform His work, for example, people could see and touch Him, and they no longer felt that God was so distant from them and so unreachable, and therefore man’s relationship with God became closer and closer. Furthermore, when we don’t understand God’s will, God expresses His words to tell us clearly the path we should take and to make us understand correctly His intentions, so that we do not need to grope blindly or make guesses. As recorded in Matthew 18:21–22, Peter asked the Lord Jesus, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.’ It can be seen that God appearing and working in the flesh is much more beneficial to our understanding of His will and requirements than if God worked in the spiritual body, and it is much more beneficial to us being purified and attaining God’s true salvation.
“Therefore, if God wants to cleanse us of our satanic corrupt dispositions and save us utterly from the domain of Satan, the best way to do this is to have real contact with us, to express the truth face to face with us and judge and reveal our rebelliousness and corruption. In this way, we are better able to understand the truth. At the same time, we are then able to know God’s righteous disposition that brooks no offense, as well as His almightiness and wisdom, thus enabling us to generate a God-fearing heart, to truly repent to God and to achieve true obedience to God. Only by doing this can we gradually be purified and attain God’s true salvation. These kinds of results can only be achieved by God becoming flesh to perform His work, and they simply cannot be achieved by the work of the spiritual body. This is the reason why God must appear and perform His work in the flesh in the last days.”
My Conceptions Vanish and I Joyfully Welcome the Lord’s Return
Through reading Almighty God’s words and listening to the brother’s fellowship, I came to understand that the Lord appearing and working in the flesh when He returns is entirely what is needed by us as corrupt mankind, and it is done to better cleanse and save us. Although our sins have been forgiven by the Lord, our sinful nature certainly remains; we are still frequently able to commit sins and resist the Lord involuntarily, and we are simply unworthy to see the Lord’s face. Only by God incarnate speaking His words and exposing our corrupt dispositions can we come to know ourselves, cast off our sinful nature and be cleansed, and attain true salvation and enter into the heavenly kingdom. God becoming flesh to speak His words and perform His work of judgment is so very necessary! What’s more, I also saw that God’s love for man is earnest and sincere, and His coming down to earth from heaven and becoming flesh to perform His work is all done the better to save us. Yet I had always clung to the ideas and interpretations of my local church, believing that the Lord Jesus would appear to all nations in the resurrected spiritual body when He returns and that He could not possibly appear and work in the flesh. Even when I heard people testifying that the Lord Jesus had returned and had come again in the flesh to express the truth and perform the work of judgment, I still didn’t seek or investigate it—I had been so arrogant! Now that I was hearing the words expressed by Almighty God, my heart had become filled with light, and I felt that, by letting go of my conceptions and imaginings, and by harboring a humble, seeking heart, I would truly be able to obtain the work and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Almighty God’s words had conquered me and remedied my conceptions, and I accepted God’s work of the last days with joy.
Afterward, I often gathered with my brothers and sisters to fellowship about Almighty God’s words. No matter what difficulty I came across or what conception or idea arose within me, I would always pray to Almighty God and look for the path within Almighty God’s words. I would also seek with my brothers and sisters, and they would fellowship patiently with me about God’s words, and all my many questions were resolved. The more I read the words expressed by Almighty God, the more I discovered that God’s words carried authority and power—they are the expressions of the disposition of God, they are the utterances of the Holy Spirit, they are the voice of God, and they have the power to resolve all our confusion and problems.
Thanks be to God for saving me. Through the brothers and sisters patiently fellowshiping about Almighty God’s words with me time and time again, God had enabled me to hear His voice and had raised me up before His throne. This experience gave me a deep appreciation that, only by being wise virgins and taking the initiative to seek, and by not clinging to our own conceptions, can we see the appearance of God and attain His salvation, just as the Lord Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
I Perceive the Difficulty of God’s Work and See the Essence of the Pastors and Elders
Later, I began to preach the gospel and bear witness to God’s work in the last days along with my brothers and sisters. As I preached the gospel, I came across many people who refused to investigate the true way because they had been obstructed by the pastors and elders and had been deceived by their lies, so much so that they even went along with the pastors and elders to condemn and forsake God’s work in the last days. This allowed me to perceive the difficulty of the work of God incarnate even more. In order to save mankind—we who have been corrupted so deeply—He endures our slander and rejection and just carries on doing His work in complete obscurity, never abandoning His salvation for us. At the same time, I also saw the God-resisting, truth-hating essence of the pastors and elders in the religious world. In their approach to the matter of the Lord’s return, they do not have a God-fearing heart, nor any desire to seek the truth. They can see clearly that the words expressed by Almighty God carry authority and power, and yet they continue to cling stubbornly to the fallacious idea that “Anyone who does not come in the resurrected spiritual body to raise us up into heaven is not the returned Lord Jesus, and anyone who testifies that the Lord has returned in the flesh is false,” and so they do all they can to resist and condemn the appearance and the work of Almighty God and fabricate all sorts of rumors to vilify, condemn and blaspheme God’s work in the last days. They do this in an attempt to hoodwink and deceive the faithful and to make them join the pastors and elders in their rejection of God’s work in the last days, and thereby lose God’s salvation of the last days. The pastors and elders of the religious world follow the Lord Jesus in name only, and they frantically condemn and resist Almighty God, and how is that any different from when the Pharisees kept the name of Messiah, and resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus? They believe only in a vague God in heaven, and yet they deny, resist and condemn Christ incarnate—does this not precisely make them antichrists who deny and resist Christ? The Bible says, “And as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18). “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 1:7). All who refuse to acknowledge God incarnate are antichrists, as are all who condemn and resist Christ. The Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees were antichrists who were exposed by the work of the Lord Jesus. Now in the last days, the leaders of the religious world are the antichrists who are exposed by the work of Almighty God—Christ of the last days. All the truths expressed by Almighty God not only expose both the wise virgins and the foolish virgins, but they also totally expose all manner of antichrists and unbelievers. Only now do I see that God is so wise, and God incarnate’s work is so good at exposing people. After coming to this understanding, I have become even more determined to be considerate toward God’s will, and to bring before God those brothers and sisters who sincerely look forward to the Lord’s coming, so that I may repay God’s love and bring comfort to His heart.