Question 2: You bear witness that God has become flesh as the Son of man to do the work of judgment in the last days, and yet the majority of religious pastors and elders maintain that the Lord will return coming with clouds. They base this primarily on the Bible verses: “This same Jesus … shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Act 1:11). “Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him” (Rev 1:7). And furthermore, the religious pastors and elders also teach us that any Lord Jesus who does not come with clouds is false and must be rejected. So, we’re not sure whether or not this view is in line with the Bible; is this kind of understanding correct or not?
When it comes to waiting for the Lord to descend with the clouds, we must not rely on man’s notions and imaginations! The Pharisees committed a huge mistake in waiting for the arrival of the Messiah. They precisely used man’s notions and imaginations to measure the Lord Jesus who had already arrived. In the end, they nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. Is this not a fact? Is waiting for the Lord’s arrival as simple as we think? If the Lord returns and works among mankind like the way the Lord Jesus in the flesh had done, and none of us recognizes Him, then would we also judge and condemn Him as the Pharisees had done and crucify Him once again? Is this a possibility? The Lord Jesus prophesied that He shall return and said many words about it, but we only hold on to the prophecy that the Lord will descend with the clouds and don’t seek or investigate other more important prophecies spoken by the Lord. This makes it easy to walk down the wrong path and be abandoned by the Lord! There is actually not just the “descend with the clouds” prophecy in the Bible. There are also many prophecies like that the Lord will come as a thief and descend secretly. For instance, Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come as a thief.” Matthew 25:6, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.” And Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” All these prophecies refer to God becoming flesh as the Son of man and descending in secret. “As a thief” means coming quietly, secretly. We won’t know He is God even if we see or hear Him, just as it was back when the Lord Jesus appeared and performed His work during His incarnation as the Son of man. From the outside, the Lord Jesus was just an ordinary Son of man and nobody knew He is God, which is why the Lord Jesus used “as a thief” as an analogy for the Son of man’s appearance and work. This is too befitting! Those who do not love the truth, no matter how God in the flesh speaks or works, or how many truths He expresses, they do not accept. Instead, they treat God in the flesh as a normal person and condemn and abandon Him. That is why the Lord Jesus prophesied that when He returns: “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” (Luk 17:24–25). Based on the Lord’s prophecy, His return shall be “the coming of the Son of man.” “Son of man” refers to God in the flesh, not the spiritual body of the resurrected Lord Jesus descending with the clouds to openly appear before all people. Why is that the case? If it were the spiritual body of the resurrected Lord Jesus descending publicly with the clouds, it would be incredibly powerful and shock the world. Everyone would drop to the ground and no one would dare resist. In that case, would the returned Lord Jesus still endure a lot of suffering and be rejected by this generation? Definitely not. That is why the Lord Jesus prophesied that His return shall be “the coming of the Son of man” and “as a thief.” In actuality, it is referring to God incarnated as the Son of man arriving in secret.
So what is the relationship between the Son of man descending in secret to appear and perform His work and God openly appearing by descending with the clouds? What does this process involve? Let’s communicate about that simply. In the last days, God is incarnated and descends secretly among humans to utter and speak, performing the work of judgment beginning from the house of God, purifying and perfecting all those who hear His voice and return before His throne and making them into a group of overcomers. Then God brings about the great disaster, refining and chastising all those who don’t accept God’s judgment of the last days. Afterward, God shall descend with the clouds to openly appear before all men. That would then completely fulfill the prophecy in 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.” When the Lord descends with the clouds, those who pierced Him can still see Him? Just who are the people who pierced Him? Some say it’s those who nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. Is that really the case? Weren’t the people who crucified the Lord Jesus cursed and destroyed by God long ago? In reality, those who pierced Him are those who, during the period in which God incarnate has descended in secret in the last days to work, do not seek God’s voice and condemn and resist Almighty God. At that time, they will see the Almighty God that they have resisted and condemned is precisely the Savior Jesus they have been desperately awaiting all these years. They shall beat their chests, weep and gnash their teeth, and their outcome can only be punishment. The Book of Revelation does not say whether such people will live or die in the end, so we cannot possibly know. Only God knows. We should be clear: Only the wise virgins who hear God’s voice can have the opportunity to welcome the return of the Lord, be brought before God’s throne to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb, and be perfected by God into an overcomer. This fulfills the prophecy in Revelation 14:4, “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” As for those who only hold on to the notion that the Lord will descend with the clouds but don’t seek and investigate God’s work of the last days, they are considered the foolish virgins. Especially those who furiously resist and condemn Almighty God, they are the Pharisees and antichrists exposed by God’s work in the last days. They are all people who have re-crucified God. All these people shall fall into the great disasters and receive punishment.
Let’s see how the Pharisees waited for the arrival of the Messiah and why they nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. Initially, the Jewish Pharisees were full of notions and imaginations when it came to the Messiah. They saw the biblical prophecy: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on His shoulder” (Isa 9:6). “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth to Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Mic 5:2). Based on the words of the Bible prophecies and various long-term fantasies and deductions toward the arrival of the Messiah, the Pharisees determined that the Lord would definitely be called Messiah and would certainly be born to a wealthy family. Further, He would be like David and become the King of Israel, leading them to break away from the rule of the Roman government. Most Israelites probably thought this way. But God did not fulfill these prophecies in accordance with their notions and imaginations, so the Pharisees tried to find all kinds of accusations against the Lord Jesus and condemned and blasphemed the Lord Jesus. Even though at the time the Lord Jesus expressed many truths and performed many miracles, fully demonstrating God’s authority and power, the Pharisees did not care how profound the Lord Jesus’ words were or how great His authority was. As long as it did not conform with their notions and imaginations, as long as He was not born to a wealthy family and His appearance was not noble and dignified, as long as His name was not the Messiah, they would condemn and resist. Due to their truth-hating nature, they ultimately nailed the Lord Jesus, who expressed truths and performed redemption work, to the cross! Are the Pharisees detestable? Should they be cursed? The sins of the Pharisees in resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus thoroughly exposed their truth-loathing, truth-hating satanic nature. This shows that their hearts were not genuinely looking forward to the Messiah saving them from sin, but were instead looking forward to the King of the Jews helping them to break away from the rule of the Roman government, so they would no longer have to suffer like slaves! They believed in God and anticipated the arrival of the Messiah all because they wanted to satisfy their own personal desires and protect their status. What mistake did the Pharisees commit in waiting for the coming of the Messiah? Why were they cursed and punished by God? This is really thought-provoking! Why did the Pharisees resist and condemn the Lord Jesus when He appeared to perform His work? What nature and substance of the Pharisees was demonstrated here? These are problems people who long for God’s appearance should understand! If we cannot see through these problems, then when it comes to receiving the returned Lord Jesus, we might very well end up on the same God-resisting path as the Pharisees!
How did the Pharisees wait for the Messiah to arrive? Why did they crucify the Lord Jesus? Just what is the source of these questions? Let’s look at what Almighty God says! Almighty God says, “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?” (“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). After reading the words of Almighty God, the essence and source of the Pharisees’ resistance of the Lord Jesus in waiting for the Messiah should all be clear to us now. So in regard to receiving the Lord’s return, many people rely on their notions and imaginations, and simply wait like fools for the Lord to descend with the clouds, rather than pursuing the truth and listening to God’s voice, then aren’t they walking the same God-resisting path of the Pharisees? Then just what will their outcome be? Everybody is clear on this now.
Now, Almighty God’s kingdom gospel has been spreading throughout Mainland China for more than 20 years. It has long spread to various religions and denominations. During this period, due to the CCP government’s furious suppression and crackdown, coupled with the propaganda campaign of the CCP’s media, Almighty God is already a household name that everybody knows about. Later, all the truths expressed by Almighty God and the various videos and films produced by The Church of Almighty God have been gradually released online, spreading across the world. People in religious circles have all heard about the various testimony methods of The Church of Almighty God. So many people have testified that God has come. This completely fulfills the prophecy of the Lord Jesus: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Mat 25:6). Then why do religious pastors and elders still furiously condemn and resist Almighty God’s work in the last days? There are so many prophecies about the return of the Lord in the Bible, so why are they so fixated on the prophecy about the Lord descending with the clouds? Why don’t they seek at all when they hear there are testimonies of the Lord’s coming? Why, when they know that Almighty God has expressed many truths and have seen the reality of God’s work, do they still stubbornly hold on to their notions and imaginations in resisting and condemning God’s work of the last days? Do these people love the truth and genuinely look forward to the Lord’s arrival or not? Are they wise virgins or foolish virgins? If they are wise virgins and genuinely look forward to the Lord’s return, then why, when they hear God’s voice and see the kingdom gospel flourishing, do they still have to stubbornly condemn and resist? Could this be their sincerity in longing for and hoping for the Lord to appear? Could this be their true expression in rejoicing the Lord’s return? Ultimately, to be frank, their belief in the Lord and longing for the return of the Lord Jesus are fake, but their longing to be blessed and enter the kingdom of heaven is real! They believe in the Lord not so they can pursue the truth and gain life, not so they can gain the truth and get away from sin. What do they care about the most? It’s when the Lord will descend to take them directly up into the kingdom of heaven and make them escape the suffering of the flesh and enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. This is their true purpose of believing in God! Apart from this reason, what reason do they have for rejecting Almighty God, who expresses truths to save mankind? We can think about it. If someone loves the truth and genuinely longs for God to appear, how will they act when they hear that the Lord has come? Will they not listen, not look, not get in touch with it? Will they blindly deny, condemn and resist? Definitely not! Because a person who sincerely longs for God’s appearance and welcomes God’s arrival looks forward to true light appearing, truth and righteousness ruling in their heart. They look forward to God coming to save mankind and help people thoroughly escape sin to be purified and gained by God. But those who only wait for the Lord to descend with the clouds yet deny and reject Almighty God, especially those religious leaders who furiously condemn and resist Almighty God for the sake of protecting their status and livelihood—these are all people who despise the truth and hate the truth. They are all non-believers and antichrists exposed by God’s work of the last days. After God in the flesh completes His salvation work, these people will fall into the once-in-a-million-year disaster, weeping and gnashing their teeth. Then the prophecy of the Lord descending with the clouds to appear publicly will be completely fulfilled: “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” (Rev 1:7).
Let’s take a look at what Almighty God’s words say: “People who do not accept the truth, yet blindly await the arrival of Jesus upon white clouds, will surely blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, and they are the category that shall be destroyed. You merely wish for the grace of Jesus, and merely want to enjoy the blissful realm of heaven, yet you have never obeyed the words spoken by Jesus, and have never received the truth expressed by Jesus when He returns to flesh. What will you hold up in exchange for the fact of Jesus’ return upon a white cloud? Is it the sincerity in which you repeatedly commit sins, and then confess them, over and over? What will you offer in sacrifice to Jesus who returns upon a white cloud? Is it the years of work with which you exalt yourselves? What will you hold up to make the returned Jesus trust you? Is it that arrogant nature of yours, which does not obey any truth?
“… I tell you, those who believe in God because of the signs are surely the category that shall suffer destruction. Those who are incapable of accepting the words of Jesus who has returned to flesh are surely the progeny of hell, the descendants of the archangel, the category that shall be subjected to everlasting destruction. 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. 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. They are too stubborn, too confident in themselves, too arrogant. How could such degenerates be rewarded by Jesus?” (“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).
from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom