Defining the Gender of God No More, I Welcome the Lord’s Return
By Chen Yao
In 1995, I started to believe in the Lord Jesus because of the family strife and became an adherent of sola fide. Thanks to the care of the Lord, from then on my husband was fairly fond of me, and my family became harmonious again. Having seen God’s love, I secretly made an oath: Afterward, I’ll read more of the Bible and attend meetings often, and moreover, I will work for the Lord in spreading His name so as to repay His love for me.
Gradually and unknowingly, the church became desolate. At meetings, the sermons of the preachers were the same old platitudes. Fewer and fewer brothers and sisters came to the meetings, and I also felt that I couldn’t gain any light when reading the Bible. I was thirsty in my spirit and lost my former faith. On the evening of March, 1999, Sister Li, a preacher, called me to her house. As soon as I came into the room, I saw that another preacher, Sister Liu, and an unfamiliar sister were sitting on the sofa. Sister Li said to me excitedly, “Sister Chen, our long-expected Lord Jesus has returned! Let’s listen to Sister Lu’s fellowship.” As speaking, she introduced Sister Lu to me. I was glad to hear the news. The Lord Jesus has really come back? I must listen carefully. So I sat down and listened to the sister’s fellowship with full attention. Then Sister Lu patiently witnessed to me God’s work in the last days. Through her fellowship, I understood: The work of the Lord Jesus was done on the foundation of that of Jehovah God. The work of Almighty God is based upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. God becomes flesh again to save corrupt mankind. Only by accepting God’s work of the last days, receiving the guidance and shepherding of His words, can man be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven. I thought her fellowship made sense, and therefore I agreed to investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days. Before I left, Sister Lu gave me a book of Almighty God’s words. As soon as I got home, I opened the book and read it. Then I thought: These words are very good. They speak to people’s hearts and reveal all of humanity’s corruption. It seems they are very likely God’s words. The more I read, the more brightened I was.
Two days later, Sister Zhang shepherding the new believers fellowshiped at the gathering, “When God first appeared in the flesh, He was male. This time He appeared to man as a female….” Hearing her fellowship, I was stunned: What? God incarnate this time is female? How could that be? At that moment, I thought of what 1 Corinthians 11:3 said, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” I thought: Woman is the origin of the corruption of mankind; woman can’t assume power; the first incarnation is male, and the second must also be male. How could He be female? When my thoughts reached this point, I interrupted her, “Sister Zhang, these days you have witnessed to us the work of Almighty God in the last days, and said that God has returned in the flesh. I agree with these. But you said God incarnate this time is female, I can’t accept it. As we all know, the Bible says man is the head of woman, and woman can’t assume power. How could God incarnate be female?” Seeing that I reacted very strongly, she advised me, “Sister Chen, God’s work doesn’t conform to people’s notions. That we can’t accept God’s incarnation this time is female now is because we don’t know His work. This requires us to hold a heart of humble seeking toward God’s work….” At the moment I was completely occupied by “God incarnate can’t be female,” so I was unable to listen to what she fellowshiped afterward. Therefore, I used an excuse of having things to do at home and then left. After I got home, I saw the portrait of the Lord Jesus on the cross on the wall, I thought: The first incarnation of God was male. When He returns in the last days, He will certainly still be male. But Sister Zhang said the second incarnation of God is female. That’s impossible. I can’t accept that. Then I opened the Bible and read.
The next day, Sister Liu and Sister Lu came to visit me. But I didn’t want to have a fellowship with them because I clung to my notions. Sister Liu exhorted me patiently, “Sister Chen, we human beings don’t possess the truth, so how can we fathom God’s work? The Bible says, ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?’ (Romans 11:33–34). God’s work is wondrous and unfathomable. We can’t define the gender of the returned Lord according to our own conceptions and imaginations.” But no matter what they said, I didn’t listen as if my heart was closed, nor did I say anything. At last, Sister Liu said with a sigh, “Sister, you’d better quiet your heart and think it over. We’ll come in several days.” After saying that, she and Sister Lu left with regret. Looking after them, I thought: If they come again, what should I do? Should I drive them out? No. I’m a believer in God. I can’t treat them that way. Then what should I do? Ah, won’t it be fine if I avoid them and don’t contact them? And in this way, we won’t have disputes and thus we won’t be in an awkward position.
The next day, I suddenly thought: Sister Liu has believed in Almighty God. Now that she spread the gospel to me, she certainly has spread it to other brothers and sisters. It is I who spread the gospel of the Lord to Sister Sun. What if she follows Sister Liu to believe in Almighty God? No. I must go to her house and tell her never to go the wrong way. After I got there, I said to her, “Sister Liu and other sisters spread the kingdom gospel of Almighty God to me. But I can’t accept that the second incarnation of God is female. In the Bible it clearly says, ‘But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God’ (1 Corinthians 11:3). It is known that man rules over woman, woman should obey man, and woman can’t assume power. So how could the second incarnation of God be female? I can’t understand anyway. I’m afraid we would go the wrong way. Sister Sun, the Lord has given us too much grace, so we shouldn’t leave Him.” Hearing my words, she said to me quickly, “Sister Chen, I really didn’t realize this before you told me. It’s right. Woman is the origin of mankind’s corruption and woman can’t assume power. How could God’s incarnation be female? I can’t understand it, either. I better return them the book in several days.”
After I got home, I took the book of God’s word and wanted to give it back to the sisters. When I arrived at the door, I suddenly felt a little reluctant, so I walked back. After that, I walked in the room back and forth, pondering in my heart: What’s wrong with me? Why am I reluctant to give back the book? I believe when the Lord returns, He must be male. However, Sister Lu and others said the returned Lord is female. It doesn’t conform to my view. Yet the words in the book can’t be spoken by man. I remembered 1 Samuel 16:7 saying, “For man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” The words in the book revealed the thoughts in our hearts and our corruption, and it is convincing. Could it be that these words are from God? Otherwise, who can inspect people’s hearts? Yet why did they say God incarnate is female? I sank into deep thought. Then, I came before the Lord and prayed, “O Lord! Is Almighty God really Your return? This concerns whether man can gain life. I don’t know what to do. O Lord! I don’t want to go the wrong way. May You guide me.” After the prayer, I looked at the book of God’s word, and was a little unwilling to give it back. I thought: Anyway, they didn’t ask me for it. Besides, I still want to read it. I’ll give it back when they ask for it. At this thought, I put the book back.
Later, I intentionally avoided the sisters. Each time I sent my son to school and approached Sister Liu’s house, I asked him to go to the gate to see if she was in the courtyard. If she wasn’t there, I would pass by quickly. In the following days, I was very uneasy in my heart, and distraught with anxiety in all I did. I always felt empty as if I had fallen into darkness. What’s more, I couldn’t feel the Lord in my prayer. I thought: Is Almighty God really the returned Lord? Has the Lord really come to work as a female? This question troubled me like an unsolvable confusion in my heart. One day, After I sent my son to school, on the way home, there suddenly occurred a thought in my heart: The false fears the true. I believe that the second incarnation of God should be male. If what I hold on to is right, then why do I fear to see Sister Liu and others? If they are wrong, it should be that they fear to see me and avoid me. At that time, I suddenly thought of 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” I thought: There is no love but fear in my heart. It proves that I don’t have a place for God in my heart. On the contrary, the sisters not only don’t fear to see me, but actively fellowship with me. There is no fear in their hearts. Do they have a place for God in their hearts? Am I wrong? I kept thinking as I was walking. Unknowingly, I got to Sister Sun’s.
Seeing me wearing a worried face, Sister Sun asked, puzzled, “Sister Chen, what’s wrong with you?” I answered confused, “I don’t know. Sister Sun, since I refused Sister Lu and others, I’ve been uneasy in my heart and I’m in no mood for everything. In the past, when I encountered some difficulties, I could feel the Lord was with me and everything was easy. But now I don’t have this feeling. Instead, I feel worried every day. Could it be that we have gone too far from the Lord? Is there something that does not please the Lord in what we’ve done, so that we couldn’t feel His presence? Is it because we didn’t accept the work of Almighty God in the last days? Is Almighty God really the returned Lord Jesus?” Sister Sun was somewhat sad, saying, “Sister Chen, just now I returned the book to Sister Liu. At that moment, there were several brothers and sisters in her house. They received the book with tears in their eyes. When I just walked out of the outside door, I heard them praying for me and asking God to have mercy on me, guide me and let me turn back. They all cried when praying. I feel they are very loving and concerned for us. Hearing your words, I’m thinking whether we’re really wrong and I shouldn’t have returned the book?” I was astonished again at her words: Sister Lu and others could pray for an unfamiliar person in tears. Their love is great! If I refuse God’s salvation and go astray, I will cause trouble to Sister Sun. Then won’t it be the blind leading the blind and both falling into the pit? Seeing that Sister Sun was anxious, I felt even more uncomfortable. So I quickly comforted her, “Sister, don’t be worried. Since such is the case, take it easy. Let’s pray to the Lord for this matter and see how the Lord will guide us.” After saying this, I went home.
One morning, while I was making clothes for my son with the sewing machine, Sister Lu came again. Then I thought to myself: It must be that she comes to fellowship with me about why God’s incarnate flesh in the last days is female. Last several times I didn’t give her any chance. Today I might as well listen to what she will fellowship about. At the thought, I improved my attitude. So I opened my heart up and told her about my confusion. After that, she said patiently, “Many brothers and sisters believe that woman is the origin of mankind’s depravity. Man is the head of woman; woman can’t assume power. So God’s incarnate flesh couldn’t be female. Actually, the words ‘man is the head of woman, and woman should obey her husband’ were spoken in regard to Adam and Eve who had been corrupted by Satan and not to God’s incarnate flesh. Let’s read a passage of Almighty God’s words, ‘In the past, when it was said that man was woman’s head, this was directed at Adam and Eve who had been beguiled by the serpent, and not at man and woman as they had been created by Jehovah in the beginning. … Jehovah said to woman, “Your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” He spoke thus only so that mankind (that is, both man and woman) might live normal lives under the dominion of Jehovah, and only so that the lives of mankind might have a structure and not fall out of their proper order. Therefore, Jehovah made appropriate rules for how man and woman should act, but this was only with regard to all the created beings living on the earth and bore no relation to God’s incarnate flesh. How could God be the same as His creation? His words were directed only toward the mankind of His creation; it was in order for mankind to live normal lives that He established rules for man and woman. In the beginning, when Jehovah created mankind, He made two kinds of human being, both male and female; and so His incarnate flesh was also differentiated into either male or female. He did not decide upon His work on the basis of the words He spoke to Adam and Eve. The two times He became flesh were determined entirely according to His thinking at the time He first created mankind, that is, He completed the work of His two incarnations based on the male and the female before they had been corrupted. … When Jehovah twice became flesh, the gender of His flesh was related to the male and the female who had not been beguiled by the serpent; it was in accordance with the male and the female who had not been beguiled by the serpent that He twice became flesh. Do not think that the maleness of Jesus was the same as that of Adam who was beguiled by the serpent. He and he are completely unrelated, and the two are males of different natures. Surely it cannot be that the maleness of Jesus proves He is only the head of all women but not of all men? Is He not the King of all the Jews (including both men and women)? He is God Himself, not just the head of woman but the head of man as well. He is the Lord of all creatures and the head of all creatures. How could you determine the maleness of Jesus to be the symbol of the head of woman? Would this not be blasphemy? Jesus is a male who has not been corrupted. He is God; He is Christ; He is the Lord. How could He be a male like Adam who was corrupted? Jesus is the flesh worn by the most holy Spirit of God. How could you say He is a God who possesses the maleness of Adam? In that case, would not all of God’s work have been wrong? Would Jehovah have been able to incorporate within Jesus the maleness of Adam who was beguiled? Is not the incarnation of the present time another instance of the work of God incarnate who is different in gender from Jesus but like Him in nature? Do you still dare say that God incarnate could not be female, because woman was the first to be beguiled by the serpent? Do you still dare say that, as woman is the most unclean and the source of the corruption of mankind, God could not possibly become flesh as a female? Do you dare to persist in saying that “woman shall always obey man and may never manifest or directly represent God”? You did not understand in the past, but can you now go on blaspheming the work of God, especially the incarnate flesh of God?’
From the words of Almighty God we can understand that God’s creation of male and female is significant and is prepared for His management plan. The reason He chose to embody different genders the two times He was incarnated is to make whole the meaning of His creation of man and woman. Not only could God’s incarnation embody the identity of a man, but it could also embody the identity of a woman. No matter whether God incarnate is male or female, He is the most holy flesh worn by the Spirit of God. If we use ‘Man is the head of woman, and woman can’t assume power’ to define the second incarnation of God and hold on to the notion that God incarnate is male, then we will define God as a male, the God of man. If so, none of women will be saved. Isn’t this a blasphemy against God? It is completely at odds with man’s notions of God that God has become flesh as a female in the last days. At the same time, by doing so, He dispels man’s fallacious belief toward Him. This allows man to realize that God is not only the God of man, but also the God of woman. He is the God of all creation. God not only saves man but saves woman likewise. God’s two incarnations have achieved the entirety of His work in the flesh. From this we can see God’s wisdom and God’s wondrousness.”
After hearing her fellowship, I thought: It turns out that God’s incarnate flesh is not corrupted by Satan. Right! Man and woman are both created by God. Besides, God’s creation of man and woman is to complete His work. And so how can man decide how God does His work! According to my imagination, God incarnation must be male. If this were the case, not a single woman would be saved, and then wouldn’t I be cast out? My former view that “Woman is the origin of mankind’s corruption; man is the head of woman; man’s position is higher than woman’s; God incarnate can’t be female” turns out to be my conceptions and imagination. What Sister Lu fellowshiped was reasonable, rendering me speechless. In an instant, my tightly closed heart was opened. The sisters came to visit me many times during this period, yet I always avoided them. I felt embarrassed, wondering how the sisters would see me. I lowered my head without another word.
When Sister Lu saw that I no longer want to speak, she took out a piece of paper from her pocket, saying, “Sister, I found some verses and some words of God and I’ve written them down on the paper. Please read them in your spare time. I have to go now.” Then she left. I looked up at her back. Just then, she happened to look back at me. At the moment our eyes met and we were gazing at each other, I saw the regretful and sorry look in her eyes. Then she turned and went away. The sister’s behavior touched my heart deeply. I couldn’t help but reflect on myself: After I couldn’t get over the fact that the incarnation of the returned Lord is female, I didn’t want to gather with the sisters again. Afterward, they came to my house time and again. Though I wasn’t all that nice to them, they didn’t care about it, and always treated me with sincerity. We had neither kith nor kin, what were they trying to achieve? To be honest, I cannot bear such suffering and give such great love like them to preach the gospel. From their living out, I saw their love for me. If the One they believe in isn’t the true God, can they have such love? Seeing my living out fall far behind theirs, I felt ashamed.
After Sister Lu left, I put down what I was working on, and put the paper, the book of God’s words, and the Bible together on the bed. Then I knelt down on the floor and prayed to the Lord seriously, “O Lord! Sister Lu and other sisters have witnessed to me the work of Almighty God in the last days, but I can’t accept God’s incarnate flesh is female. I heard the sister’s fellowship today, and I’m willing to put aside my notions and seek from these words. May You guide me…. If the work of Almighty God is done by You, I’m willing to follow closely. May You lead me on the path ahead. Pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen!” After the prayer, I searched the Bible for the verses the sister wrote for me. I turned to Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Reading these words, I was shocked: That’s true! God created not only man, but also woman in the image of Himself. If God were male, how could He have created woman in the image of Himself? According to what I hold on to, woman would not be the human being created in the image of God. Then how can we explain that Adam and Eve were the ancestors of mankind? Alas! I have read the Bible much, yet why didn’t I pay any attention to this verse? After that, I found the another verse, Matthew 25:1, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” I thought: Here are the words “virgins” and “meet the bridegroom.” If, as I considered, the bridegroom were male — only those unmarried sisters were counted as the virgins — then wouldn’t the married sisters be forsaken by the bridegroom? How could it be possible! Looking at it like that, my notions are indeed wrong. It seems the prophecy couldn’t be interpreted according to my own will and the literal meaning. I was so foolish! Then I accidently turned to the Book of Jonah. I saw that Jonah didn’t listen to God and wanted to escape the sovereignty of God. However, a big fish swallowed him and he stayed in the dark stomach of the fish for three days until he turned back to God. This allowed me to think of myself: Am I not like Jonah? For the past several days my spirit was in darkness, and I felt depressed, as if I lost something. This is because I didn’t listen to the words of Almighty God. It seems I’m really wrong.
Then I put down the Bible and picked up the book of God’s word. I turned to The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation and read, “Each stage of work done by God has its own practical significance. Back then, when Jesus came, He was male, but this time He is female. From this, you can see that God created both male and female for the sake of His work, and with Him there is no distinction of gender. When His Spirit comes, He can take on any kind of flesh at will and that flesh can represent Him. Whether male or female, it can represent God as long as it is His incarnate flesh. If Jesus had appeared as a female when He came, in other words, if an infant girl, and not a boy, had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, that stage of work would have been completed all the same. If such had been the case, then the present stage of work would have to be completed by a male instead, but the work would be completed all the same. The work done in either stage is equally significant; neither stage of work is repeated nor conflicts with the other. At the time, Jesus in doing His work was called the only Son, and ‘Son’ implies the male gender. Then why is the only Son not mentioned in this stage? This is because the requirements of the work have necessitated a change in gender different from that of Jesus. With God there is no distinction of gender. He does His work as He wishes and in doing His work He is not subject to any restrictions, but is especially free. However, every stage of work has its own practical significance. God became flesh twice, and it goes without saying that His incarnation in the last days is the last time. He has come to reveal all His deeds.” Only after reading God’s words did I understand: God’s essence is spirit. Spirits are not differentiated into genders. Gender only applies to created mankind. The reason why God took on a different gender the two times that He was incarnated is because of the need of His work. However, no matter whether the gender of His incarnation is male or female, the essence of God is the Spirit, God Himself. So, once the incarnated God’s work on earth concludes, He will return to the spiritual world. At that time, He will no longer be differentiated by gender.
Thinking of this, I could not help but fear for what I had done. Facing the big event of the Lord’s return, I didn’t put my mind to investigating it but directly refused it. Though believing in God, I didn’t seek God. Rather, I held the Bible and rely on my conceptions and imagination to study and define God, believing that God’s incarnate flesh must be male instead of female. I had stepped onto the path of resisting God, yet I didn’t know that. I was so foolish! If it were not for Almighty God’s mercy, I would have long ago been eliminated because of my opposition to God caused by my conceptions. Now I cannot resist God anymore. I’ll closely follow the footsteps of the Lamb and be a person who seeks God and obeys God. Afterward, I knelt on the floor and prayed to God, weeping, “O Almighty God, I’m wrong. I was arrogant and held on to my notions to resist Your work. It is Your love that has transformed my rigid heart and given me the opportunity to repent. O Almighty God! Now I’m certain that You are the returned Lord Jesus. I don’t want to resist You anymore. I’m willing to turn back to You. I’ll hold fast to my oath and closely follow You.”
After praying, I thought of Sister Sun. I realized that I had not done anything for God, but instilled my notions in her and blocked her from accepting God’s work such that she almost lost the opportunity to be saved by God. I was doing evil! No, I must find her and tell her the truth. Later, I got to Sister Sun’s. She said gladly, “Thank Almighty God! It is God who gives me another chance to come to the Church of Almighty God. This morning Sister Lu came and gave me the book of God’s word again. I think God’s words are the truth after reading them and I am enjoyable and comforted when pondering them.” Hearing her words, I was very excited. I gave thanks and praises to God from my heart. Later, Sister Sun and I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days together. We joined in preaching the gospel to contribute our effort to repaying God’s love.
All the glory be to Almighty God!