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When the Lord Returns, Will He First Come With Clouds or Come in Secret?

The blue sky was dotted with white clouds floating and rolling along like a flowing landscape painting, and I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh as I thought of how the pastor always used to say, “In the last days, the Lord will return on a white cloud, and as long as we keep watch and wait for His return, then the Lord will raise us up and welcome us into the heavenly kingdom….” Over 10 years ago, I would often gaze at the sky with such high hopes, dreaming that the Lord Jesus would suddenly appear on a white cloud to bring us up into heaven. But more than 10 years had passed since then and I never did see the coming of the Lord. I couldn’t help but feel melancholy as I thought: We’re now well into the last days, so when will the Lord come on a cloud to welcome us? I really wish to one day be able to see the spectacle of the Lord riding on a white cloud down from heaven—that would be so great! One day, I was visiting a friend and it just so happened that my friend’s nephew, Brother Li, was there. When we got to talking about the state of the world today with disasters everywhere growing bigger and bigger in scale, and about the appearance of the blood moons mentioned in Revelation, we all felt that the prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus’ return had pretty much been fulfilled and that He would soon return. Brother Li then asked me, “Sister, in what way do you think the Lord shall return?” Without thinking, I said, “He will come on a white cloud, of course, for He has said, ‘And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory’ (Luke 21:27). And it’s prophesied in Revelation chapter 1, verse 7: ‘Behold, He comes with clouds.’” Brother Li said, “Sister, I used to think that the Lord would return on a white cloud as well and that He would come with great glory. But then I attended a co-workers’ meeting, and by discussing the way in which the Lord will return with all the brothers and sisters there, I finally realized that, besides the prophecies in the Bible that state the Lord will come openly with clouds, there are actually many other verses of Scripture that prophesy that the Lord will come in secret when He returns …” Before waiting for Brother Li to finish speaking, I butted in anxiously, saying, “How could that be? Will the Lord not come on a white cloud? How could He come in secret?” Brother Li smiled and said, “Sister, in actual fact, there are mysteries relating to the Lord’s return. I consulted the Bible with the brothers and sisters and we fellowshiped and discussed it, and only then did I discover that there are two ways in which the Lord shall return: One is that the Lord shall come openly with clouds, and the other is that He shall come in secret. As it says in Revelation 16:15, ‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.’ It says in Matthew 25:6, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.’ And in Matthew 24:43–44, it says: ‘But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.’ The words in these verses, ‘as a thief,’ ‘at midnight there was a cry made’ and ‘in such an hour as you think not’ are referring to the fact that the Lord will return in silence so that we will remain unaware, they are referring to the Lord coming quietly and in secret. Besides, when the Lord prophesied His return, He said, ‘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). The ‘Son of man’ mentioned here refers to someone born of a human and who is possessed of normal humanity. We know that the Lord Jesus was called the Son of man and Christ because He was the incarnation of the Spirit of God. From the outside, He looked like just another ordinary, normal man, and no one could tell that He was God, and no one knew His true identity. To man, His identity remained a secret until the Lord Jesus began to preach and perform His work, and only then did people recognize Him as the Lord and as Christ. Therefore, the Lord prophesied that His return would be as the coming of the Son of man, and this actually means that God will incarnate as the Son of man and come in secret.” After Brother Li had finished speaking, I carefully contemplated those verses of Scripture and I thought to myself: The brother’s fellowship tallies with the Bible, it has the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and it contains new light. It seems as though the Lord really will return as the Son of man and come in secret. I’ve read these verses before, so how come I never realized this? I therefore said to the brother, “I understand what you have fellowshiped. So, the words ‘the Son of man comes’ and ‘as a thief’ actually mean that God will incarnate as the Son of man and come in secret. This is a pretty pure understanding. But I still don’t quite understand. If, when the Lord returns, He really does come…

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