Will the Lord Jesus Come Back in the Flesh?
- Editor’s Note:
When working in a foreign country, Weiwei bumps into someone from home whom she hasn’t seen for years, and she learns the news of the Lord’s return. When she hears that the Lord has already returned in the flesh, her pre-conceived notions are shaken to the core. After seeking and investigating, however, she comes to understand the significance of God becoming flesh.
“Are you Weiwei?”
“Oh, Weiwei! My old neighbor! What a surprise to bump into you! We haven’t seen each other in years and we meet again in a foreign country. This really is by the Lord’s arrangement!”
“Yes indeed! Thank the Lord!”
An Old Acquaintance From Home Brings Amazing News
My name is Weiwei, and at the end of 2016 I came alone to a strange country—America—to work. I am a Christian, and so the church naturally became the only place I could feel at home. But I was disappointed to find that the pastor’s sermons were only either about theological theory, or else he talked about indulging oneself in food, drink and merriment, and even set a specific amount for us to donate. I felt that my life was not being provided for, and I felt great disdain for these methods, and so over time I ended up going less and less to church. After I bumped into Jingyi, I learned that Sister Jiang Ling from our home village was also living in the same city as us, and that her home was a meeting place. I was very happy to hear this, so from then on, I attended meetings with Jingyi at Jiang Ling’s house.
At one meeting, Jiang Ling said to me in earnest: “Did you know, Weiwei, that thehas become flesh and returned already, and is expressing His words and doing His work of judgment beginning in God’s family?”
I was taken aback by what Jiang Ling had said, and I said, “The Lord has become flesh and returned? It can’t be! The Bible clearly prophesies about the Lord’s return: ‘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’ (Acts 1:11). After the Lord Jesus resurrected, He departed on a white cloud in a transcendent spiritual body. So when the Lord returns in, He will surely come in His spiritual body. How could the Lord possibly become flesh again?”
Smiling, Jingyi said, “Weiwei, let me read God’s words to you. God says: ‘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.’ God is so almighty and wise, and His thought is ever beyond the thought of man. We’ve been corrupted by Satan and our understanding of God is filled with notions and imaginings, and neither do we have the faculty to directly penetrate the spiritual world, so how can we delimit God’s actions to this or to that? Moreover, the prophecies in the Bible contain God’s wisdom and mysteries, and they cannot possibly be as simple as we imagine, and much less will they be fulfilled according to the literal meaning of the words. For example, there are many prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the return of the Messiah. People’s imaginations run wild when they read these words: ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the Jehovah of hosts will perform this’ (Isaiah 9:6–7). When they read this, they believed that the Messiah who would come to power was the Son of the heavenly Father, that He must be born in a palace, and that He would be transcendent, extraordinary and impressively brilliant, and the way they imagined Him ended up being at odds with the facts. The Lord Jesus was born in a manger in an ordinary, normal body, and therefore people at that time not only did not accept Him, but they also condemned and rejected Him, and nailed Him to the cross, and ultimately they suffered the pain of national subjugation. Does this not serve as a lesson for the failure of one’s faith that comes from explaining the Bible in a literal way? Can such a limited understanding as we have now be the actual facts of the Lord’s work when He returns? Therefore, we cannot delimit God’s work by our own imaginings and notions, but instead only by investigating with a seeking heart will God enlighten us to understand the true meaning of the scriptures.”
Does the Bible Prophesy That the Lord Will Become Flesh When He Returns?
After listening to Jingyi, I thought that what she had said sounded reasonable. The Lord’s coming is a big thing, and we have to investigate it thoroughly. I said, “So is there any basis in the Bible for what you say about the Lord becoming flesh when He returns?”
Jiang Ling said, smiling, “There are many verses of scripture in the Bible which prophesy that the Lord will come in the flesh, such as: ‘Be you therefore ready also: forcomes at an hour when you think not’ (Luke 12:40). ‘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). ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6), etcetera. The ‘Son of man’ and the ‘bridegroom’ spoken about in these verses are all referring to . The ‘Son of man’ refers to a man who is born of man, and who has a normal humanity. If it referred to the ‘Spirit,’ then it wouldn’t say the ‘Son of man.’ For example, Jehovah is the Spirit, and so can’t be called the ‘Son of man’; angels are spiritual beings, and so can’t be called the ‘Son of man’; all that has the image of man, and yet is a spiritual being, cannot be called the ‘Son of man.’ The incarnated Lord Jesus is called the Son of man, and , because He is the incarnation of the Spirit of God, and He became an ordinary, normal man and lived amongst man. It was precisely because God in the flesh was so ordinary and normal that people didn’t believe that the Lord Jesus was God, and they said that He was only a carpenter’s son. Thus, they ridiculed and slandered Him, condemned and rejected Him, and in the end they nailed Him to the cross. Therefore, the ‘coming of the Son of man’ and ‘the Son of man will come’ that the Lord Jesus spoke of, mean that the Lord will come in the flesh when He returns in the last days. If God descended on a white cloud in a transcendent spiritual body, then all people would prostrate themselves in worship, for who would dare to defy or condemn Him then? And the Lord’s prophecy, ‘But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation,’ would not then be able to come to pass.”
Why the Lord Will Become Flesh When He Returns
As I listened to Jiang Ling speak, I read through these verses of Scripture, and my heart concurred with her views. But when I thought that God would suffer many things when He worked in the flesh, I felt quite bewildered: “Why wouldn’t God work through the Spirit in the last days? Did not Jehovah God do His work through the Spirit?” So I spoke out on the confusion. Jiang Ling then said, “In fact, no matter in what way God works, it’s done in accordance with our need. In the last days, God becomes flesh to express His words, to do His work of judgment beginning in God’s family, to reveal man’s corruption and rebelliousness with His words, to judge man’s satanic nature which defies God, and ultimately He will purify man, save man and perfect man. If He worked through the Spirit but not in the flesh, this result would not be possible to achieve. Let’s read a passage of God’s words.”
I took the book of God’s words that Jiang Ling handed to me, and I read in earnest: “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.” “Man has been corrupted by Satan and is the highest of all God’s creatures, therefore man is in need of. The object of God’s salvation is man, not Satan, and that which shall be saved is the flesh of man, and the soul of man, and not the devil. Satan is the object of God’s annihilation, man is the object of God’s salvation, and the flesh of man has been corrupted by Satan, so the first to be saved must be the flesh of man. The flesh of man has been most profoundly corrupted, and it has become something which opposes God, so much so that it even openly opposes and denies the existence of God. This corrupt flesh is simply too intractable, and nothing is more difficult to deal with or change than the corrupt disposition of the flesh. Satan comes into the flesh of man to stir up disturbances, and it uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God and impair the plan of God, and thus man has become Satan, and become the enemy of God. For man to be saved, he must first be conquered. It is because of this that God rises to the challenge and comes into the flesh to do the work He intends to do, and to do battle with Satan. His aim is the salvation of man, who has been corrupted, and the defeat and annihilation of Satan, which rebels against Him. He defeats Satan through His work of conquering man, while at the same time He saves corrupt mankind. Thus, it is a work that achieves two aims at once.”
Jiang Ling gave fellowship, saying, “We are able to understand sufficiently from God’s words that the reason God becomes flesh is entirely because of our needs as corrupt humanity, and because, although we have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus and our sins have been forgiven, our sinful natures remain and are still rooted within us, and we simply do not have the strength to overcome sin and free ourselves from our flesh. Our flesh has been corrupted by Satan, and Satan uses our flesh to disrupt and destroy God’s work, and so we also become Satans and we become the enemies of God. If God came to work directly through the Spirit, He would strike us all dead for our filthiness and corruption; not one person would survive, let alone attain salvation. As is recorded in the Old Testament, when David led the Israelites from Baale of Judah and brought God’s Ark of the Covenant back, because an ox lost its footing, Uzzah stumbled and stretched out his hand and touched the Ark, and was struck dead by the Spirit of God. ‘The Ark of the Covenant’ represented God at that time; God is holy, so how could a filthy man touch the Ark? Although Uzzah had a good heart, he offended God and so was struck dead. Whereas, in the New Testament it is recorded that a promiscuous married woman was constrained and brought before the Lord; but at that time, not only did the Lord not condemn her for her sins, but He forgave them, and told the woman to confess and repent, and not to sin again. We can see from these two examples that, during the Age of Law, God worked through the Spirit, and the Spirit would not permit filthy mankind to exist, nor would He permit man to offend Him—any offense meant death; in the Age of Grace, however, God worked differently in the flesh. He was able to take different approaches to people, depending on their actual circumstances and the real context of their situations. That is to say, God incarnate was able to show understanding for man’s weaknesses, so that they would have a chance to repent. Therefore, the work of God incarnate is much more beneficial toward corrupt mankind than the direct work of the Spirit of God. Likewise, our sins now have long since surpassed those of the people at the end of the Age of Law, and they have surpassed those of the people of Sodom; promiscuity, wickedness and rebellion against God have all reached their height. Take us brothers and sisters in the Lord, for example: Although we have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus, because our sinful natures are still rooted within us, we still live lives whereby we sin in the daytime and confess at night. Some people appear on the outside to be humble and forbearing, when in fact they scheme and plot against each other, cause jealous disputes and try to outwit and cheat each other. There are many brothers and sisters who are negative and weak, and their faith and compassion are weakened little by little. Think about it: Having been corrupted in this way, if God used His Spirit to directly do His work of judgment and purification in the last days, wouldn’t we have been destroyed long ago? Therefore, God has once again come in the flesh to work amongst us according to the needs of corrupt mankind and according to the degree to which man has been corrupted. Because only by God becoming flesh to do His work can He show understanding for our weaknesses, allow us a chance to repent and enable us to be utterly saved.”
Hearing Jiang Ling fellowship in this way, I felt much moved—every work God does contains His love. I said, “I now understand that the benefits to mankind of God becoming flesh to do His work are indeed much better than Him working through the Spirit. We don’t need to be struck dead by the Spirit of God because we are so corrupt.”
At that moment, Jingyi spoke happily to Jiang Ling, saying, “Weiwei understands! Thank God!”
Another Significance to the Incarnation
Jiang Ling also said happily, “That’s right. Weiwei, there is another significance to God becoming flesh. Let’s read another passage of God’s words.”
I read, “The corrupt disposition of man and his rebelliousness and resistance are exposed when he sees Christ, and the rebelliousness and resistance exposed at this time are more absolutely and completely exposed than at any other. It is because Christ is the Son of man—a Son of man who possesses normal humanity—that man neither honors nor respects Him. It is because God lives in the flesh that the rebelliousness of man is brought to light so thoroughly and in such vivid detail. So I say that the coming of Christ has unearthed all the rebelliousness of mankind and has thrown the nature of mankind into sharp relief. This is called ‘luring a tiger down the mountain’ and ‘luring a wolf out of its cave.’”
Pondering this, I said quietly, “Luring a tiger down the mountain and luring a wolf out of its cave?”
Laughing, Jiang Ling said, “These words give a very vivid image! God Himself has come to earth in an ordinary, normal body, and because we don’t know God, we naturally reveal many notions and imaginings, as well as rebelliousness and defiance. If God came in the last days through the Spirit to do His work of bringing this age to an end, then everyone would fall to the ground and prostrate themselves, for who would dare rebel against Him or defy Him then? How could good and evil be distinguished? Therefore, if God used His Spirit to do this work, people’s notions, rebelliousness and defiance would not be able to be exposed. Only by God Himself coming to earth and taking the form of an ordinary, normal body, exposing man’s inner notions, rebelliousness and defiance and thereby judging and chastising man, is He then able to convince people in heart and by word; those who obey and accept Him will thus attain salvation, and those who rebel against and defy Him will be punished. Only because God incarnate is normal and real and does not accord with people’s notions can their rebelliousness and defiance be exposed; thus, God seizes upon the facts, separates the good from the wicked, and ultimately achieves His aim of separating each to their own kind, and of rewarding the good and punishing the evil. We can therefore see that this is the wisdom of God’s work, and is His righteousness. So only by God becoming flesh and personally performing His work can God expose people more completely and more thoroughly, and achieve His aim of conquering man; the work of God incarnate is more beneficial to the work of judgment in the last days than the work of the Spirit would be.”
At that moment, my heart and eyes were opened, and laughing, I said, “Now I understand! God becomes flesh to do His work because of our needs as corrupt mankind, and only by means of God’s incarnation can He expose man’s rebelliousness and defiance, and thereby achieve His aim of rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. Thanks be to God—these words are all a mystery that only God can reveal. I now believe that God has indeed returned! Wow, God coming is such a big thing and I didn’t know about it at all. My belief in God is so obtuse …”
Jiang Ling said, “Thank God that it is not yet too late to accept His work!”
I joyfully nodded my head.
After some time had passed, through attending meetings and watching gospel films, I became absolutely certain about God’s work in the last days, I welcomed the appearance of the Lord and my heart became filled with joy! In The Church of Almighty God, brothers and sisters all pursue the truth and live by God’s words, and in this big family I came to perceiveand the warmth of belonging to a family. I feel so grateful!