Signs of Christ’s Return Have Appeared: The Lord Has Returned
Disasters such as earthquakes, famines and plagues have become more and more frequent in recent years. The prophecies in the Bible concerning the coming of the Lord have basically now been fulfilled, and many brothers and sisters who sincerely long for the Lord’s appearance have sensed that He has most likely returned already. So why haven’t we greeted Him yet? Where is He? How should we seek His appearance? On this subject, some people think the Lord has not yet returned, and they believe they do not need to go out looking for Him, for it is said in the Bible, “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). They believe that when the Lord returns, He will come upon a cloud with great majesty and strength, and that because these phenomena have not yet been seen, this proves that the Lord has not returned.
There are now two divergent views on this subject, so has the Lord really returned or not? How will the Lord appear to man when He returns? Can waiting for the Lord to descend upon a cloud guarantee that we will see God and greet Him? Let’s fellowship together on these questions.
Will We Witness the Appearance of God by Waiting for the Lord to Come on a Cloud?
“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). Based on this passage of Scripture, there are many brothers and sisters who believe that, when the Lord was resurrected, He ascended to heaven on a white cloud, and that when He returns He will likewise do so as His resurrected spiritual body riding a white cloud. They believe that, as long as they have not seen this phenomenon of the Lord descending upon a cloud, then this shows that the Lord has not yet come. But can we be sure that this understanding entirely accords with God’s will? The Bible says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, said Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9). God’s wisdom reaches higher than the heavens, so how can we created mankind ever fathom God’s work? How the Lord will appear and work in the last days is something we human beings can never determine. For example, in the beginning the Bible prophesied the coming of the Messiah, but then the Lord Jesus came — was this something we human beings could have imagined? Because the Pharisees at that time were so arrogant and conceited, and because they clung to their own notions and imaginings, they defied God. No matter how authoritative or powerful the Lord Jesus’ words and work were, still they went by their own notions and imaginings to delimit God’s work. They believed that the Messiah would wield political power, that He would surely be born in a palace, and that He would be awe-inspiring in His appearance. When they laid eyes on the Lord Jesus, therefore, and saw that He was just an ordinary Jew, that He was not named Messiah and had not been born in a palace, they refused to accept the Lord’s work, and even went so far as to collude with the Roman authorities to nail the Lord Jesus upon the cross, and thus they were punished by God. No matter how the Pharisees condemned or resisted the Lord, however, the Lord appearing and working are facts, and He completed the work of redeeming the whole of mankind. Therefore, whether God has appeared and is working cannot be determined based on whether or not people acknowledge it, but on the facts of God’s work. Disasters are now a frequent occurrence, the state of Israel has risen again, and four blood moons have been seen — all of these things are the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Lord’s coming. If the Lord has returned and yet we still wait passively for Him to descend on a cloud, would we not be greatly at risk of repeating the same mistakes as the Pharisees when they resisted the Lord Jesus? Just as God’s words say: “I ask you further: Is it not extremely easy for you to commit the mistakes of the earliest Pharisees, given that you have not the slightest understanding of Jesus? Are you able to discern the way of truth? Can you truly guarantee that you will not oppose Christ? Are you able to follow the work of the Holy Spirit? If you do not know whether you will oppose Christ, then I say that you are already living on the brink of death. Those who did not know the Messiah were all capable of opposing Jesus, of rejecting Jesus, of slandering Him. People who do not understand Jesus are all capable of rejecting Him and reviling Him. Moreover, they are capable of seeing the return of Jesus as the deceit of Satan, and more people shall condemn Jesus returned to flesh. Does not all of this make you afraid?”
In fact, as for how exactly the Lord will come in the last days, besides the prophecies in the Bible concerning the Lord descending on a cloud, there are other prophecies which tell of the Lord coming in secret: “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you” (Revelation 3:3). “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). The words in these verses of Scripture, “at midnight there was a cry made” and “I will come on you as a thief,” show that when the Lord returns He shall come silently, that He shall descend in secret among mankind, and shall knock upon our doors with His words. Were the Lord to appear to us in the last days by descending upon a cloud, how would these prophecies be fulfilled? If the Lord came on a cloud, would He have any need to knock on our doors? If the Lord appeared to all who believe in Him by coming on a cloud, then no one would dare resist Him, and all would fall at His feet. If that happened, how then would the prophecies in the Bible about the Lord’s work of separating the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, and the wise virgins from the foolish virgins when He returns come to pass? We therefore cannot take a couple of verses of prophecy and use them to determine that the Lord will appear to us by descending on a white cloud when He returns, for by doing that we will be apt to misunderstand God’s will.