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Gospel Reader

The Great Tribulation Is Near: How to Welcome the Return of the Lord

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By Anyuan, Philippines

Two thousand years ago, the followers of the Lord asked Jesus, “[W]hat shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). The Lord Jesus replied, “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6–8). Today, disasters are occurring more and more across the globe. Earthquakes, epidemics, famine, war and floods occur one after another. At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China. Its transmission rate is alarming; in the space of just a few months, cases appeared all across the country, and China was immediately plunged into chaos. Many provinces, municipalities and villages are being quarantined one after another as the death toll continues to rise. So far, the virus has also rapidly spread around the world. On top of this, between September 2019 and January 2020, wildfires in Australia destroyed more than 5,900 buildings and killed over a billion animals. Then, the same continent was hit by a once-in-a-century torrential rain, causing floods, and bushfire ash was washed into the rivers, which killed many freshwater creatures. Besides, tens of thousands of people were left homeless as a result of floods in Indonesia. There was also the eruption of a volcano in the Philippines, the worst locust infestation in 25 years in Africa, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Xinjiang. … The list goes on. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?

Contents

How Will the Lord Come?

What Work Will the Lord Do When He Returns?

How to Welcome the Return of the Lord

The Great Tribulation Is Near

How Will the Lord Come?

Many people have read these words in the Bible: “Behold, He comes with clouds” (Revelation 1:7). “They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). They are certain that the Lord will come with clouds. However, why have we yet to see such a sight? Is this the only means by which the Lord will come? There’s actually one major thing we have overlooked about the coming of the Lord. In the Scriptures, there are also prophecies about God coming in secret, such as: “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). “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes” (Matthew 24:44). “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” (Luke 17:24–25).

The Scriptures’ references to “as a thief” and “at midnight there was a cry made” indicate that when the Lord returns during the last days, He will do so quietly, in secret. And what does “Son of man” refer to? A “Son of man” is surely born of a person, with a mother and father, and of flesh and blood. Take the Lord Jesus for example, He was incarnated in the image of a normal person who lives among man. Thus we can see that “Son of man” refers to the incarnate God; the Spirit cannot be called a Son of man. In addition, the Scriptures also say, “But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.” This passage of Scripture clearly states that when the Lord returns, He shall endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation. We all know that God could only be rejected when incarnated in the flesh as the Son of man, for God in the flesh is too ordinary and people do not know Him; they treat Him as an ordinary person, and He suffers great hardship as a result. If the Lord were to appear to man as the Spirit, though, then be they good or bad, believers or unbelievers, or even those who oppose God, all would fall down before God in worship—for who could reject God thus? And then how would He suffer? This shows that the Lord of the last days appears to humanity as the incarnate Son of man.

What Work Will the Lord Do When He Returns?

At this point, some brothers and sisters may be confused: If the Lord comes to work among man in secret during the last days, how is the prophecy of His coming in a cloud fulfilled? There are steps and a plan to God’s work. God first becomes flesh and arrives in secret to carry out His work of saving man, and then appears to man openly in a cloud. To understand this question, we must learn more about what work the Lord does when He returns during the last days. The Lord Jesus said, “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). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). The Bible also says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). These passages of Scripture tell us that God of the last days chiefly comes to utter words, to carry out the work of judgment beginning from the house of God. As a result, those who accept God’s work of judgment of the last days are welcoming the arrival of the Lord, and are raised before God! Today, the incarnate Almighty God has uttered millions of words that are all recorded in the book The Word Appears in the Flesh. In this book, the words of Almighty God reveal many mysteries that were previously incomprehensible to us, such as the history of mankind’s development, how Satan corrupts mankind, how God saves man, what kinds of people are beloved of God, which people are loathed by Him, the outcomes and destinations of various kinds of people, and so on. Not only this, but God has also expressed words of judgment and chastisement, exposing our corrupt dispositions. All who accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement will have their corrupt dispositions cleansed and transformed; they will be made into overcomers before the great tribulation, and ultimately enter the kingdom of God to enjoy eternal bliss. Those who make no attempt to hear the voice of God during the period that God is in the flesh and working in secret, who do not accept God’s work of judgment of the last days, who condemn and blaspheme the incarnate God according to their own notions and imaginings, shall be exposed and eliminated by God. And so, the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats, the wise virgins and the foolish virgins, the good servants and the bad servants, those who love the truth and those who loathe the truth—each will be exposed and classed according to kind. After that, God will come with clouds, openly appearing to all nations and peoples of the earth, and begin to reward good and punish evil, thus fulfilling the biblical prophecies: “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). “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). At that time, all who oppose, reject and condemn God will beat upon their breasts and be filled with remorse because of their evil deeds. From God’s work we see how righteous, almighty and wise is God!

How to Welcome the Return of the Lord

Today, the incarnate Almighty God has already conquered and saved a group of people. So, too, have the overcomers been made. God’s work in secret will soon come to an end, after which all manner of great tribulation will immediately befall the earth. We have an urgent task before us: How should we welcome the return of the Lord Jesus and embrace God’s work of the last days? The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). These prophecies also appear in the Bible: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). “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). And Almighty God says: “The work of God surges onward like a mighty wave. No one can detain Him, and no one can halt His march. Only those who listen carefully to His words, and who seek and thirst for Him, can follow His footsteps and receive His promise. Those who do not shall be subjected to overwhelming disaster and well-deserved punishment” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Do you wish to follow the footsteps of the Lamb? Do you wish to welcome the Lord? Do you wish to be raptured before the great tribulation? The words of God tell us that if we are to welcome the Lord, it is key that we learn how to hear the voice of God by looking at whether the words expressed by Almighty God are the truth, whether they are the Holy Spirit’s words to the churches. I believe that if we possess humble hearts of seeking and longing for the truth, God will lead us in welcoming the Lord soon!

Editor’s Note: Thanks be to God! Hasn’t reading this shown us the path to welcoming the Lord’s return? In a time such as this when the world is beset by catastrophe, many long to welcome the return of the Lord, and to receive His care and protection. I hope you will share this text with friends and family as well so that everyone can soon welcome the Lord. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time if you have any questions, and we’ll get back to you just as soon as we can.

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