How the Wise Virgins Welcomed the Lord
By Anick, France
Almighty God says, “Wherever God appears, there the truth is expressed, and there the voice of God will be. Only those who can accept the truth will be able to hear the voice of God, and only such people are qualified to witness the appearance of God. Let go of your notions! Quiet yourself and give these words a careful reading. If you yearn for the truth, God will enlighten you and you will understand His will and His words. Let go of your opinions about the ‘impossible’! The more that people believe something is impossible, the more likely it is to occur, because the wisdom of God soars higher than the heavens, God’s thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts, and the work of God transcends the limits of man’s thinking and notions. The more that something is impossible, the more it has truth that can be sought; the more something lies beyond man’s notions and imagination, the more it contains the will of God” (“The Appearance of God Has Ushered in a New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The key to welcoming the Lord is to take care to listen to God’s voice, and then recognize and welcome the Lord based on that. Those who’ve recognized God’s voice in Almighty God’s words are raptured before God’s throne and attend the Lord’s feast with Him. They are the wise virgins, the most blessed of people. In my previous faith, I clung to the literal words of the Bible and longed for the Lord to come on a cloud and take me into the kingdom, as I imagined He would. When I heard the Lord had returned, I didn’t investigate this or listen for God’s voice. I almost became a foolish virgin, missing my chance to welcome the Lord’s return. Thanks to God’s guidance, I heard God’s voice and attended the wedding feast of the Lamb.
One day in April 2018, a sister in the Lord sent my good friend Mireille a movie called Where Is My Home, saying it was great and really realistic. Mireille came over so we could watch it together. When the main character was in pain and despair, I saw she opened a thick book and found hope for life again in its pages. But it wasn’t the Bible she was reading, and its content was all new to us. Surprised, we kept on watching. Later the main character was in trouble, and her church brothers and sisters came to help her. They read this book together, encouraging and helping each other. I was moved to tears as I watched the plot unfold. I felt the people in the movie were different from all the selfish people in our dark society, and what they read seemed special. We really wanted to know what was in this book so we read the info below the video. But when it said the Lord Jesus had already appeared, I just couldn’t believe it and thought, “No way! 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.’ The Lord Jesus left on a cloud and when He returns in the last days, He’ll come again on a cloud with great glory. This hasn’t happened, but it says here that the Lord Jesus has appeared. This is at odds with the Bible.” I told Mireille what I was thinking and she agreed with me. We didn’t look any further into The Church of Almighty God after that, but just watched that movie a few more times.
For some time, I kept thinking about the news of the Lord’s return and then it came up between Mireille and I again a couple months later. We talked about how those words they’d read in the movie gave them such confidence and hope, and how they didn’t sound like something just anyone could say. In all the religious world, only The Church of Almighty God was testifying to the Lord’s return, so maybe things weren’t so simple. But then we remembered the Bible clearly stating that the Lord will return on a cloud, and pastors and elders said this, too. So why was this church saying the Lord had returned already? What was it all about? Should we look into it or not? I felt very conflicted, so Mireille and I prayed together, asking the Lord to guide us to make the right choice. Later, I thought, “God is the Ruler of all things and has the power to do what He wills. How could we limit His work to only what we can think of and conceive? If Almighty God truly is the Lord Jesus returned and I don’t investigate, missing my chance to welcome the Lord, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.” We decided to look into Almighty God’s work of the last days. We contacted Sister Anna through The Church of Almighty God’s website. She introduced us to Brother Pierre, and together we discussed the Lord’s return.
In that gathering, I told them about my confusion, saying, “Acts 1:11 says the Lord will come the same way He left. Since He left on a white cloud, surely He should come on a white cloud when He returns in the last days. This is what our pastor and elders in the church always say and it’s what we believe, too. We haven’t seen the Lord coming on a white cloud yet, so how can you say He’s returned already?”
Brother Pierre said, “The prophecy of the Lord coming on a cloud will be fulfilled, but we cannot delimit the way the Lord returns by just looking at that one prophecy. There aren’t just prophecies about the Lord coming on a cloud in the Bible, but also some about Him coming in secret. For example, there’s Revelation 3:3: ‘If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you.’ There’s Revelation 16:15: ‘Behold, I come as a thief.’ There’s Matthew 25:6: ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.’ And then there’s Mark 13:32, that says: ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ These prophecies mention ‘as a thief.’ ‘As a thief’ means quietly, secretly, with no one being aware of it, and no one recognizing Him when they see Him. These prophecies mean that the Lord will come in secret. There are many prophecies in the Bible that mention the coming of the Son of man, such as Luke 12:40: ‘Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not,’ and 17:24–25: ‘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.’ ‘The Son of man’ here means born of man, with normal humanity. No spirit or spiritual body could be called ‘the Son of man.’ Jehovah God is Spirit, so He cannot be called ‘the Son of man.’ The Lord Jesus is called ‘the Son of man’ and ‘Christ’ because He was the Spirit of God in the flesh who lived as the ordinary Son of man. So the coming of the Son of man mentioned by the Lord means that God will incarnate as the Son of man when He returns. In particular, one verse says, ‘But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.’ This is further proof that the Lord will come in the flesh when He returns. If the Lord didn’t come in the flesh, but appeared in the Lord Jesus’ Spirit form after He resurrected, everyone would be so afraid that no one would resist or condemn Him. He wouldn’t need to suffer or be rejected of this generation. So God incarnating as the Son of man and coming in secret is another way the Lord comes in the last days.”
At this point, I thought, “This is unthinkable. It’s so not what I’d imagined. But Brother Pierre had backed his fellowship up with evidence, and everything he said chimed with the Bible and with the Lord’s prophecies. He was so convincing.” I’d read these verses so many times but never realized that they were about the Lord incarnating in secret in the last days. My old ideas were blown to bits.
Mireille was also nodding thoughtfully, and said, “Yes, what you say is in line with the Lord’s words.”
But I’m confused about one thing, so I asked him, “If the Lord incarnates as the Son of man and comes in secret, how is the prophecy of Him coming on a cloud fulfilled? It’s a contradiction, right?”
Brother Pierre answered, saying, “There’s no contradiction between these two kinds of prophecies as the Lord’s words can never come to nothing. His prophecies will always be fulfilled. It’s just that they’re fulfilled in line with the stages of God’s work. There are stages to the appearance and work of the returned Lord. First, He incarnates as the Son of man and comes to the world in secret, and then He comes on a cloud, appearing openly.”
Confused, I asked, “First He comes in secret, and then appears openly? Could you explain this further please, brother?”
Brother Pierre went on, saying, “The Bible does in fact prophesy that God will gain a group of overcomers in the last days. Making this group is integral to the work God does when He comes in secret. God first incarnates and comes in secret in the last days to express the truth and do the work of judgment starting with God’s house and to make a group of overcomers before the disasters. Then, God will unleash the disasters and He’ll reward the good and punish the wicked. After the disasters, God will come on a cloud and appear openly to all nations and peoples. While God works secretly in the flesh, all true believers who long for Him to appear hear His voice and turn to Almighty God. These are the wise virgins who are judged and cleansed by God’s words and made into overcomers, and they will survive the disasters. As for those who don’t accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, who resist and condemn it, when God comes on a cloud and appears openly, they will see that the One they’ve resisted and condemned is the returned Lord Jesus, and they’ll beat their breasts, weep and gnash their teeth. This will fulfill the prophecies of the Lord coming on a cloud that say: ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). ‘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).”
Brother Pierre then read a passage of Almighty God’s words: “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).
Then I understood. When the Lord returns, He first comes in secret and makes a group of overcomers, then He rains down the great disasters, both rewarding and punishing. After that, He comes on a cloud with great glory and appears openly to all nations and peoples. There was no contradiction between these two kinds of prophecies at all. I was so blind! The Lord’s coming is such a big deal and I was refusing to look into it, instead clinging to the verses about the Lord coming on a cloud, and not listening to God’s voice. I almost became a foolish virgin and missed my chance to welcome the Lord’s return. That was a close call!
So I asked Brother Pierre, “You testify that the Lord has returned in incarnate form, but what is this ‘incarnation’?” He then read a couple passages of Almighty God’s words: “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).
He continued, saying, “God incarnate is God’s Spirit clothed in flesh, who is God in heaven becoming the Son of man to work and speak amongst mankind to save us. God’s disposition, and what He has and is, is all realized in flesh. God incarnate appears totally ordinary, not mighty or supernatural. He has normal humanity, He comes into actual contact with people, and He lives amongst us. No one can tell He’s God incarnate. But Christ is the embodiment of God’s Spirit and possesses total divinity. He can express the truth, do God’s own work, express God’s disposition and what He has and is. He gives man the truth, the way, and the life, and can cleanse and save corrupt mankind once and for all. No human being has these qualities or can achieve these things. The incarnate Lord Jesus appeared to be an ordinary person, but in essence He was God’s Spirit realized in flesh. He could always express the truth to water and sustain people. He gave people the way of repentance. He could do God’s own work and redeem mankind from sin. The incarnation of God is therefore unlike any created being, and His essence is that of God Himself.”
At this point, I finally understood that the incarnation is God become human who comes to the world to speak and work. This flesh possesses normal humanity and total divinity. Though He looks ordinary, He can express the truth and do God’s work to save mankind. This is Christ! I’d always said the name “Jesus Christ” but I’d never really known what Christ was. I was so ignorant.
Brother Pierre then read us a passage of Almighty God’s words: “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” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
He then shared this fellowship: “Even though the Lord Jesus’ redemption work meant our sins were forgiven, our satanic nature remained intact. We still live by our satanic corrupt dispositions, such as arrogance, selfishness, deceit, and greed. We lie and cheat for our own interests, we vie with others for profit and scheme against each other. We can’t help but sin and resist God. Though we may look like we’re making sacrifices and suffering, we’re actually making deals with God, hoping to get the kingdom’s blessings in return. We don’t do God’s will at all. God is holy, and people as filthy and corrupt as us are simply not fit to enter God’s kingdom. God has incarnated again in the last days to save man from their sinful nature. He has real contact with us, He expresses the truth to sustain and shepherd us, and He exposes and judges our satanic dispositions and nature. He also shows us the path to change our dispositions and tells us how to live out normal humanity and be honest people who delight Him. By experiencing the judgment of God’s words, we come to truly know and hate our corruption and satanic nature, and we wish to repent and live by His word. We gradually cast off some corrupt dispositions and begin to live out some human semblance. Only God incarnate can achieve this in His work. If God came to speak and work in His Spirit form in the last days like Jehovah God, He would be unable to cleanse and save man. This is because people can’t see or touch God’s Spirit and they wouldn’t understand Him if He spoke directly to them. What’s more, God’s Spirit is so holy that corrupt mankind can’t go near Him, but would be struck down for being filthy and corrupt. It says in the Old Testament that Jehovah God appeared on Mount Sinai with claps of thunder. The Israelites saw and heard the smoke upon the mountain, the thunder, the lightning, and the sound of horn. They stood far off and said to Moses, ‘Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die’ (Exodus 20:19). And when David led the Israelites from Baalah of Judah and brought God’s ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem, the oxen stumbled and Uzza reached out to steady the ark, and was killed by God’s Spirit (See 1 Chronicles 13:9–10). Mankind in the last days has been deeply corrupted by Satan. If God came to work in the Spirit, no one would survive. We would all be killed by God for being filthy and corrupt. So according to our needs as corrupt mankind, God has chosen the way that is most beneficial to saving us—He becomes flesh, expresses the truth, and judges and cleanses corrupt mankind. This is God’s greatest love and salvation for man!”
I felt so moved at this point, and I said excitedly, “We really need God to incarnate as the Son of man to work in the last days. It’s the greatest salvation for corrupt mankind!” I never knew before the ways in which God worked. I didn’t listen out for His voice, and so I couldn’t know or welcome Him. I just stupidly waited for the Lord to come on a cloud and take us up into heaven. What a fool I was!
Later, we read lots of Almighty God’s words and discovered what the wise virgins are, what the foolish virgins are, how God appears, and the mysteries of God’s names, His incarnations, and His judgment work in the last days. We came to understand that God does three stages of work to save mankind, in the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom. Only these three stages of work can utterly save man from the power of Satan. We saw that Jehovah God, the Lord Jesus, and Almighty God are all one God. We recognized Almighty God as the Lord Jesus returned and accepted Him. We’ve finally welcomed the Lord! Thanks be to Almighty God!