Why does God allow setbacks or failures? How should we trust God in difficult times and thus keep our faith in God? Read this article to find the answers.
Will the Lord Jesus Come Again in a Jewish Image?
In 1994, I accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus. At that time, my third elder sister gave me a Bible, and we made an appointment to attend a meeting on Sunday. That day, as soon as I entered the church, a rectangular stereoscopic oil portrait of the Lordcame into my view: He bears the image of a Jew and wears a white robe, with long curly blond hair spilling over His shoulders, with blue eyes, a high nose, and a kindly face…. I was quite amazed and thought within: actually the God I believe in bears a Jewish image…. Due to my zealous pursuit, I became a preacher soon. On a , when it was my turn to give a sermon, I looked at the believers down there and said gently, “Brothers and sisters, it is because of the Lord’s great love that we poor people are chosen from different places. The Lord Jesus is full of lovingkindness and mercy, and He promised us that He would come again. Please turn to Acts 1:11, ‘Which also said, 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.’ As we all know, the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven in a Jewish image. So, when He returns, He shall still descend among His sincere believers in the image and clothes of a Jew. We must hold on to the Lord’s way firmly to welcome His return.” After hearing that, the believers all nodded in agreement. With such an expectation, I was more zealous in my pursuit and service. However, I had never seen the return of the Lord Jesus….
Later, Sister Yang, at her old age, came to our church. During my contact with her, I found she was quite spiritual. So, I often fellowshipped with her about the verses in the Bible. One day, she said to me, “I have a good news for you. The Lord Jesus has come back, and He has returned to flesh and is doing a new work in China.” I was absolutely shaken and asked, “You said that the Lord Jesus has come back and is doing a new work in China. Then, what does He look like?” She answered with a smile, “Of course He takes the image of a Chinese.” I said, “Acts 1:11 says, ‘…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.’ The Lord Jesus went away in a Jewish image, so He shall still appear to all peoples in a Jewish image when He returns. How can He come in the image of a Chinese? It’s impossible.” Sister Yang said, “As to this question, we may look back on what kind of images God took when He appeared to man. As a matter of fact, in God’s work, God never appeared to man in a fixed image. In the Age of Law, God appeared to Abraham in the image of a man (referring to Genesis 18); and He also appeared to Moses in the brambles and fire (referring to Exodus 3:1-4). In the Age of Grace, although God became flesh in the image of the Lord Jesus and did His work in Judea for several years, He didn’t ask man to memorize His Jewish image. For instance, the Lord Jesus was once transfigured before His disciples, with His face shining as the sun, which was definitely not a Jewish image; after He was nailed to the cross and resurrected, His image was not the previous image, so that the two disciples on their way to Emmaus and Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Him. From these, we know that the image of God is beyond man’s definition. Let’s read a passage of Almighty God’s words, ‘God is the greatest in the entire universe, so could He fully explain Himself using the image of a flesh? God puts on the flesh in order to do a stage of His work. There is no significance to the image of the flesh, and it bears no relation to the passing of ages, and has nothing to do with God’s disposition. … Although the image of man was created in the image of God, how could the appearance of man represent the exalted image of God? When God becomes flesh, He merely descends from heaven into a particular flesh. His Spirit descends into a flesh, through which He does the work of the Spirit. The Spirit is expressed in the flesh, and the Spirit does His work in the flesh. The work done in the flesh fully represents the Spirit, and the flesh is for the sake of work, but that does not make the image of the flesh a substitute for the true image of God Himself; this is not the purpose and significance of God become flesh. He becomes flesh only so that the Spirit can have somewhere appropriate to reside when doing His work, so that He can achieve His work in the flesh—so that people can see His work, come into contact with His disposition, hear His words, and know the wonder of His work. His name represents His disposition, His work represents His identity, but He has never said that His appearance in the flesh represents His image; that is merely a notion of man. … The portrait of Jesus was painted by man so that man could worship Him. At the time, no special instructions were provided by the Holy Spirit, and so man passed the portrait on until today. In fact, according to the original intention of God, man should not have done this. It is only the zeal of man which has caused the portrait of Jesus to remain until this day. God is Spirit, and man will never be capable of summing up exactly what His image is. His image can only be represented by His disposition.’ (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)”) From Almighty God’s words, we know that God is the supreme Ruler. He is the invisible Spirit, who is formless and imageless. God can ascend to the highest place and humble Himself to be a man. No matter which image He appears in, His substance is still God Himself. When God becomes flesh to carry out His work, it is totally because of the needs of His work, not for the purpose of replacing the true image of God Himself with the image of His flesh. The appearance of His flesh can’t represent God’s disposition or God’s true identity. The image of God incarnate has nothing to do with God’s substance or God’s true image. Only from His work and word can we know God’s disposition, substance, and identity, and that God is the truth, the way, and the life. Man must not regard the appearance of God’s flesh as God’s true image or make such a conclusion that ‘God took the image of a Jew, so God will look like this forever.’ It is a blasphemy and slander against God. Whatever image God takes to do His work, it is meaningful. When God becomes flesh, He will take the image of people in the country where He does His work, for it is advantageous to people’s contact with Him and the smooth progress of His work in the flesh. For example, in the Age of Grace, God became flesh in Judea and did His work among the Jews, so He bore a Jewish image, wore the clothes of the Jews, and spoke Hebrew. In this way, it was relatively easy for the Jews to contact Him and know more about His word and work and thus receive His salvation. Similarly, God becomes flesh in China in the last days, and so He appears in the image of a Chinese and speaks Chinese. In this way, it is convenient for the chosen people of China to accept God’s work and receive the truth expressed by God. If God, when incarnated in China, still took a Jewish image and spoke Hebrew, the Chinese wouldn’t be able to understand His word, much less would they understand the truth expressed by Christ. In that case, wouldn’t God’s work of salvation yield no effects? Thus, it is so logical that wherever God becomes flesh to do His work, He will take the image of people there. But we should know that no matter which country’s people God incarnate resembles in looks, His substance is still God Himself, which is beyond all doubt. As Almighty God says, ‘Although the image God’s flesh takes in the work of today is totally different from Jesus, Their substance and origin are one after all, and They are from one source. Maybe They have many differences in Their outer shells, but the inside truth of Their works is not in the least different. After all, the ages are completely different. How could God’s works be completely the same or be contradictory to each other?’”
Hearing that, I realized such fellowship was very reasonable and irrefutable, and found the viewpoint baseless that the Lord Jesus would return in a Jewish image, which I had preached for many years…. At that time, Sister Yang continued, “No matter what image God takes, where He appears, or in which way He appears to man, God can accomplish His own work. Man shouldn’t confine God within a limited scope or within his notions and imaginations, thinking that God will surely reappear in the image of the Lord Jesus. We shall come out of our own notions and imaginations to seek and investigate the truth, and only in this way will we see the appearance of God and truly welcome the return of the Lord. Let’s read another passage of Almighty God’s words, ‘The objective of God’s appearance free from the constraints of any form or country is for Him to be able to complete the work in His plan. For example, when God became flesh in Judea, His aim was to complete the work of crucifixion to redeem all mankind. Yet the Jews believed that it was impossible for God to do this, and they thought it impossible that God could become flesh and assume the form of the Lord Jesus. Their “impossible” became the basis by which they condemned and opposed God, and ultimately led to the destruction of Israel. Today, many people have committed a similar error. They wantonly proclaim the imminent appearance of God, yet also condemn His appearance; their “impossible” once more confines the appearance of God within the limits of their imagination. … Put your conceptions to one side! Stop and carefully read these words. If you yearn for the truth, God will enlighten you to understand His will and His words. Put aside your view of “impossible”! The more that people believe something is “impossible,” the more likely it is to occur, for 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 conception. The more that something is impossible, the more there is the truth to be sought; the more that something is beyond the conception and imagination of man, the more it contains the will of God.’” Almighty God’s words shook my heart. I would no longer hold on to the notion that the Lord Jesus would return in a Jewish image….
Later, Sister Yang fellowshipped with me about several pieces of words expressed by Almighty God: The Substance of the “Flesh” God Is In, The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of Incarnation, God Is the Lord of All Created Beings, The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of the Word, and so on. Under the unending supply of Almighty God’s word, I understand more and more truths and increasingly feel that what God has and is is so rich. Before God, man is only a handful of dust. As a created being, man can never fathom the wisdom and wonderfulness of God’s work, much less define God’s true image. So, we should seek and investigate more about God’s return to flesh.
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