67. Why does the Lord’s return involve incarnation—descending in secret—as well as publicly descending from the clouds?
The Answer from God’s Word:
God is incarnated in the Chinese mainland, what the compatriots in Hong Kong and Taiwan call the inland. When God came from above to the earth, no one in heaven and earth knew about it, for this is the true meaning of God returning in a concealed fashion. He has been in the flesh working and living for a long time, yet no one has known about it. Even to this day, no one recognizes it. Perhaps this will remain an eternal riddle. God’s coming into flesh this time is not something anyone is able to be aware of. No matter how large-scale and powerful the Spirit’s work, God always stays composed, never giving Himself away. One can say that it is as if this stage of His work is taking place in the heavenly realm. Even though it is perfectly obvious to everyone, no one recognizes it. When God finishes this stage of His work, everyone will awake from their long dream and reverse their past attitude. I remember God once saying, “Coming into flesh this time is like falling into the tiger’s den.” What this means is that because this round of God’s work has God coming into flesh and being born in the dwelling place of the great red dragon, His coming to earth this time is accompanied even more so with extreme dangers. What He faces are knives and guns and clubs; what He faces is temptation; what He faces are crowds wearing murderous looks. He risks being killed at any moment. God did come with wrath. However, He came in order to do the work of perfection, meaning to do the second part of His work that continues after redemption work. For the sake of this stage of His work, God has devoted utmost thought and care and is using every conceivable means to avoid the assaults of temptation, concealing Himself humbly and never flaunting His identity. … At the break of dawn, unbeknownst to any, God came to earth and began His life in the flesh. People were unaware of this moment. Maybe they were all fast asleep, maybe many who were watchfully awake were waiting, and maybe many were praying silently to God in heaven. Yet among all these many people, not one knew that God had already arrived on earth. God worked like this so as to more smoothly carry out His work and achieve better results, and it was also to avoid more temptations. As man’s spring slumber breaks, God’s work will have long been finished and He shall depart, bringing to a close His life of roaming and sojourning on earth.
from “Work and Entry (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
At that time when Jesus worked in Judea, He did so openly, but now, I work and speak among you in secret. The unbelievers are completely unaware of it. My work among you is closed to those on the outside. These words, these chastisements and judgments, are known only to all of you and no others. All of this work is carried out in your midst and opened up only to you; none among the unbelievers knows of this, for the time has not yet come. These people here are near to being made complete after enduring chastisements, but those on the outside know nothing of this. This work is much too hidden! To them, God become flesh is hidden, but to those in this stream, one can say that He is open. Although in God all is open, all is revealed, and all is set free, this is only true for those who believe in Him; as far as the rest, the unbelievers, are concerned, nothing is made known. The work being carried out here now is strictly closed in order to keep them from knowing. Should they become aware of this work, then all they would do is condemn it and subject it to persecution. They would not believe in it. To work in the nation of the great red dragon, this most backward of places, is no easy task. If this work were to be put out into the open, it would be impossible to continue. This stage of work simply cannot be carried out in this place. If this work were to be carried out in the open, how could they allow it to go forward? Would this not put the work under even greater risk? If this work were not concealed, but rather carried out as in the time of Jesus, when He spectacularly healed the sick and cast out demons, then would it not have long ago been “taken prisoner” by the devils? Would they be able to tolerate the existence of God? If I were to now enter into the halls to preach and lecture man, then would I not have long ago been dashed to pieces? And if this had happened, how could My work have continued to be carried out? The reason that no signs and wonders are openly manifested at all is for the sake of concealment. So, to unbelievers, My work cannot be seen, known, or discovered. If this stage of work were to be done in the same manner as that of Jesus in the Age of Grace, it could not be so steady as it now is. So, to work secretly in this way is of benefit to you and to the work as a whole. When God’s work on earth comes to an end, that is, when this secret work concludes, then this stage of work will explode into the open. All will know that there are a group of overcomers in China; all will know that God become flesh is in China and that His work has come to an end. Only then will it dawn on man: Why is it that China has yet to show decline or collapse? It turns out that God is personally carrying out His work in China and has perfected a group of people into overcomers.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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. It will herald the end of God’s management plan, and 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.
from “When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
1. “Reverse their past attitude” refers to how people’s conceptions and views about God change once they know God.