Response: We preach that the Lord Jesus has returned as the incarnated, and that He has come to perform a stage of work in which He uses His words to judge and purify man. This is not a groundless statement, and seeing God incarnate is not the only way to confirm that He is God Himself. The Bible says: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Because we see God’s words with our own eyes and we hear God’s utterances with our own ears, from Almighty God’s words and utterances, we can therefore recognize that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned in the flesh, and this is sufficient. Presumably, no brother or sister who believes in the Lord Jesus only started believing after they saw Him in the flesh. Don’t people believe in the Lord Jesus all because of His work and words that are recorded in the Bible? Don’t they all believe in Him because, during the process of following the Lord Jesus, they gain the Lord’s grace, experience His compassion and mercy and see His wonderful deeds, and only then do they become certain that the Lord Jesus is the true God and begin resolutely following Him? In fact, as believers in God, it is not important whether or not we have seen God in the flesh, and it does not affect our seeking and study of the true way. God becomes flesh in order to complete His work and to enable people to attain His salvation, not to reveal the form of His flesh to mankind. The aim of God’s first incarnation was to complete His work of redeeming all mankind by being crucified upon the cross. When this work was finished, He then left the earth; He did not incarnate so that people could all see what His flesh looked like. The Lord Jesus worked on earth for only three-and-a-half years, and the scope of His work was also rather restricted and limited only to Judea and Galilee. He only revealed Himself to a limited small portion of people and He commenced His work in the flesh among this limited small group of people. He did not publicly reveal the form of His flesh to all people. Later, His gospel was spread throughout the world not by preaching about how He looked, but by preaching the Lord Jesus’ words and His salvation of the cross. Evidently, there was not much to say about the form of His flesh. If there was and it could have enabled people to know God and attain His salvation, then why didn’t the Lord Jesus travel around the world so that everyone could see His flesh? Why did He only work within such a limited scope, and only reveal Himself to a small group of people? It is obvious that God came to earth in the flesh not to reveal to mankind the form of His flesh, for this was without actual significance and was of no help to knowing God. Almighty God says: “God becomes flesh not with the intention of allowing man to know His flesh, or to allow man to distinguish the differences between the flesh of God incarnate and that of man; nor does God become flesh to train man’s ability of discernment, and still less does He do so with the intention of allowing man to worship the incarnate flesh of God, thereby winning great glorification. None of these things is the original intention of God in becoming flesh. … God comes unto earth only as His work requires, and only as necessary. He does not come unto earth with the intention of wandering around on earth, but to carry out the work that He ought to do. Why else would He assume such a heavy burden and take such great risks to carry out this work? God becomes flesh only when He has to, and always with unique significance. If it were only for the sake of allowing men to have a look at Him and to open up their horizons, then He would, with absolute certainty, never come among men so lightly. He comes unto earth for the sake of His management and His greater work, and in order that He might obtain more men. He comes to represent the age, He comes to defeat Satan, and in order to defeat Satan He puts on the flesh. Even more, He comes in order to guide the entire human race in living their lives. All of this concerns His management, and it concerns the work of the whole universe. If God became flesh merely to allow men to come to know His flesh and to open up men’s eyes, then why would He not travel to every nation? Is this not a matter of exceeding ease? But He did not do so, instead choosing a suitable place in which to settle and begin the work that He ought to do” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It can be seen that God incarnates to perform a greater work, to defeat Satan and to guide all mankind’s life on earth. He does not incarnate so that everyone can see the form of His flesh. What God incarnate leaves people with are His work and His words, and what He allows people to know are also His work and His words. Through these, He allows people to know His disposition and what He is, and to understand His will and requirements, thereby attaining God’s salvation. God incarnates and works in the last days in order to complete the work of “the Word appearing in the flesh,” to conquer and save those who were redeemed by Him but have not attained purification, and to enable these people to gain the truth and be purified within the judgment and chastisement of His word. Whether or not one has seen Him in the flesh does not determine whether or not they can gain His salvation. Back then, there were many Jews and Pharisees who all saw the Lord Jesus in the flesh, but they did not believe in Him and even condemned and blasphemed the Lord Jesus. They were thus cursed and punished by God. Some of the gentiles outside of Judea and Galilee hadn’t seen the Lord Jesus in the flesh, but they, upon hearing people preach about the Lord Jesus’ work, believed in and followed the Lord, and thus they attained His salvation. Don’t we, who have been born in the last days, all believe in and follow the Lord Jesus because of what people preach about the work of the Lord Jesus that is recorded in the Bible? Is there anyone who only believes in the Lord Jesus because they have seen Him in the flesh? Surely no one. Since we have returned to Him only through His work and words without seeing the Lord Jesus in the flesh, then why can’t we believe the fact that God has become flesh in the last days without having first examined His flesh? Is what you’re longing and hoping for not the work and the truth that can save you brought by the reincarnation of the Lord Jesus, but merely that you can see the form of the Lord Jesus reincarnated in the flesh so you can regale your eyes? If that is indeed so, then you will never see God because God only appears to those who long for and seek the truth and those who long to know His work and words, not to people who only want to see His flesh to satisfy their curiosity, and moreover not to those who deliberately test God because their hearts are filled with doubt.
Actually, we also had such a wrong view when we first heard people preaching that God has returned in the flesh, and so we questioned them, saying: “You preach that God has become flesh. Have you seen Him? If you haven’t, what basis do you have to say God has returned?” Thus our foolishness and ignorance, destitution and pitifulness were exposed. Through listening to the preachers’ fellowships and reading Almighty God’s words, we gradually gained some knowledge of the mystery and significance of God’s incarnation, and our notions were gradually resolved. Regarding this aspect of truth, let’s have a read of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says: “God becomes flesh only to complete the work of the flesh, not simply to allow all men to see Him. Rather, He lets His work affirm His identity, and allows what He reveals to attest to His substance. His substance is not baseless; His identity was not seized by His hand; it is determined by His work and His substance” (“The Substance of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “In determining[a] whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man. External appearance does not determine substance; what’s more, the work of God can never conform with the conceptions of man. Did not the outward appearance of Jesus conflict with the conceptions of man? Were not His appearance and dress unable to provide any clues as to His true identity? Was not the reason why the earliest Pharisees opposed Jesus because they merely looked at His external appearance, and did not take to heart the words that He spoke? It is My hope that the brothers and sisters who seek the appearance of God will not repeat the tragedy of history. You must not become the Pharisees of modern times and nail God to the cross again. You should carefully consider how to welcome the return of God, and should have a clear mind of how to be someone who submits to the truth. This is the responsibility of everyone who is waiting for Jesus to return with the clouds” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). “God’s coming to earth is the Word becoming flesh; He is simply allowing man to understand His word and to see His word, that is, allowing man to see the work carried out by the flesh. His intention is not for people to treat His flesh in a certain way, but only for man to be obedient to the end, that is, to obey all words that issue forth from His mouth, and to submit to all the work that He does. He is merely working in the flesh; He is not intentionally asking for man to exalt the greatness and holiness of His flesh, but showing man the wisdom of His work and all the authority He wields” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “He becomes flesh only so that the Spirit may find an appropriate place to reside when doing His work, the better to 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 appearance in the flesh bears no relation to His management, being merely for the sake of His work at the time. Yet it is impossible for God incarnate to have no particular appearance, and so He chooses the appropriate family to determine His appearance. If the appearance of God were to have representative significance, then all those who possess facial features similar to His would also represent God. Wouldn’t that be an egregious mistake?” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Later, through experiencing Almighty God’s words and work, we became even more certain that Almighty God is the one true God and that He has already come to earth in the flesh and lives among us. Although His flesh is not revealed to all people, His work and words are open to all those who long for and pursue the truth. Through reading Almighty God’s words and experiencing Almighty God’s real work of judgment and chastisement, we understand many truths we did not previously understand, we find the path to cast off corruption and be purified, and we recognize in ourselves corrupt dispositions and a God-defying nature and essence that would otherwise be impossible to discover. At the same time, we come to know God’s majestic and righteous disposition that brooks no offense, and we come to appreciate that, while God hates and detests our satanic corrupt dispositions, He is constantly hoping that we will soon change and attain His salvation. To give thanks for God’s love in our hearts, to hate our own rebelliousness and corruption, to do our utmost to pursue the truth, to gradually leave the dark realm of sin’s bondage behind, and for our corrupt dispositions to change more and more, are all the results achieved by the work of Almighty God, Christ of the last days. Dear brothers and sisters, if you can put aside your notions and open-mindedly seek and study Almighty God’s work and words, we trust that you will also have the fortune of seeing God’s appearance and gain His salvation of the last days.
a. The original text reads “as for.”