Why does the Lord’s return involve incarnation—descending in secret—as well as publicly descending from the clouds?
Bible Verses for Reference:
“Behold, I come as a thief” (Revelation 16:15).
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6).
“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” (Revelation 3:20).
“But of that day and that hour knows no man, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Matthew 24:36).
“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).
Relevant Words of God:
The work of the last days is to separate all according to their kind, and to conclude the management plan of God, for the time is near and the day of God has come. God brings all who enter His kingdom—all who are loyal to Him to the very end—into the age of God Himself. Yet prior to the arrival of the age of God Himself, God’s work is not to observe the deeds of man, or to inquire into the life of man, but to judge man’s disobedience, for God shall purify all those who come before His throne. All who have followed the footsteps of God to this day are those who come before the throne of God, and this being so, every single person who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s purification. In other words, everyone who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s judgment.
The work of judgment is God’s own work, so it must naturally be carried out by God Himself; it cannot be done by man in His stead. Because judgment is the use of the truth to conquer humankind, there is no question that God would still appear in the incarnate image to perform this work among man. That is to say, Christ of the last days shall use the truth to teach people across the world and make all truths known to them. This is God’s work of judgment.
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth
In the last days, God principally uses the word to make man perfect. He does not use signs and wonders to oppress man, or convince man; this cannot make plain the power of God. If God only showed signs and wonders, then it would be impossible to make plain the reality of God, and thus impossible to make man perfect. God does not make man perfect by signs and wonders, but uses the word to water and shepherd man, after which is achieved the complete obedience of man and man’s knowledge of God. This is the aim of the work He does and the words He speaks. God does not use the method of showing signs and wonders to make man perfect—He uses words, and uses many different methods of work to make man perfect. Whether it be the refinement, dealing, pruning, or provision of words, God speaks from many different perspectives to make man perfect, and to give man a greater knowledge of the work, wisdom and wondrousness of God.
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All Is Achieved by the Word of God
It was Jesus’ flesh that was nailed to the cross, His flesh that He gave up as a sin offering; it was by means of a flesh with normal humanity that He defeated Satan and completely saved man from the cross. And it is as a complete flesh that God in His second incarnation performs the work of conquest and defeats Satan. Only a flesh that is completely normal and real can perform the work of conquest in its entirety and bear powerful testimony. That is to say, the conquest of man is made effective through the reality and normality of God in the flesh, not through supernatural miracles and revelations. The ministry of this incarnate God is to speak, and thereby to conquer and perfect man; in other words, the work of the Spirit realized in the flesh, the flesh’s duty, is to speak and thereby conquer, reveal, perfect, and eliminate man completely.
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God
God’s arrival in the flesh is primarily meant to enable people to see the real deeds of God, to give fleshly form to the formless Spirit, and to allow people to see and touch Him. In this way, those who are made complete by Him will live Him out, will be gained by Him, and will be after His heart. If God only spoke in heaven and had not actually come onto the earth, then people would yet be incapable of knowing God; they would only be able to preach God’s deeds using empty theory and would not have God’s words as reality. God has come onto the earth primarily to act as an exemplar and a model for those whom He is to gain; only thus can people actually know God, touch God, and see Him, and only then can they truly be gained by God.
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Know That the Practical God Is God Himself
God has been incarnated in the Chinese mainland, or in the words of compatriots from Hong Kong and Taiwan, the “interior.” When God came from heaven above to the earth, no one in heaven or on earth was aware of this, for this is the true meaning of God returning under concealment. He has been working and living in the flesh for a long time, and yet no one has been aware. Even to this day, no one recognizes it. Perhaps this will remain an eternal riddle. God’s coming into the flesh this time is something that no human can possibly become aware of. No matter how large-scale and powerful the impact of the Spirit’s work, God always remains impassive, never giving anything away. One can say that this stage of His work is the same as if it were taking place in the heavenly realm. Even though it is apparent to all who have eyes to see, no one recognizes it. When God finishes this stage of His work, all humanity will break with their usual attitude, and awaken from their long dream. I remember God once saying, “Coming into the flesh this time is like falling into the tiger’s lair.” What this means is that, because in this round of God’s work God comes into the flesh and moreover is born in the dwelling place of the great red dragon, even more than before, He faces extreme danger by coming to earth this time. What He faces are knives and guns and cudgels and clubs; what He faces is temptation; what He faces are crowds wearing faces filled with murderous intent. He risks being killed at any moment. God came bringing wrath with Him. However, He came in order to do the work of perfection, which is to say that He came in order to do the second part of His work, that which continues after the work of redemption. For the sake of this stage of His work, God has devoted the utmost thought and care and is using every conceivable means to avoid the assaults of temptation, humbly concealing Himself and never flaunting His identity. … At the break of dawn, unbeknownst to the multitudes of humanity, God came to earth and began His life in the flesh. People were unaware of the coming 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 a single one knew that God had already arrived on earth. God worked like this so as to carry out His work more smoothly and to achieve better results, and also to forestall even more temptations. When man’s springtime 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.
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Work and Entry (4)
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 you and no others. All of this work is carried out in your midst and unveiled 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 that is currently being done among you and in China is strictly closed off, 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 “seized upon” by the devils? Would they be able to tolerate the existence of God? If I were to now enter into the synagogues 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 burst 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.
God become flesh only manifests Himself to a portion of the people who follow Him during this period when He personally carries out His work, and not to all creatures. He became flesh only to complete one stage of His work, and not for the sake of showing man His image. However, His work must be carried out by Himself, thus it is necessary for Him to do so in the flesh. When this work concludes, He will depart from the human world; He cannot remain for the long term among mankind for fear of standing in the way of the work to come. What He manifests to the multitude is only His righteous disposition and all His deeds, and not the image of when He twice became flesh, for the image of God can only be shown through His disposition, and cannot be replaced by the image of His incarnate flesh. The image of His flesh is shown only to a limited number of people, only to those who follow Him as He works in the flesh. This is why the work being carried out now is done so in secret.
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)
Today, God does not engage with the Pharisees, nor does He allow the world to know, and those who know Him are only you who follow Him, for He will not be crucified again. During the Age of Grace, Jesus preached openly throughout the land for the sake of His gospel work. He engaged with the Pharisees for the sake of the work of crucifixion; if He had not engaged with the Pharisees and those in power had never known of Him, how could He have been condemned, and then betrayed and nailed to the cross? And so, He engaged with the Pharisees for the sake of the crucifixion. Today, He does His work in secret in order to avoid temptation. In the two incarnations of God, the work and the significance are different, and the setting is also different, so how could the work He does be entirely the same?
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)
I tell you, those who believe in God because of the signs are surely the category that shall be destroyed. Those who are incapable of receiving 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. 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.
Excerpted from The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew
1. “Break with their usual attitude” refers to how people’s notions and views about God change, once they have come to know God.
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