How Should I Recognize Jesus When He Returns?

By Xiaohua, China

How Should I Recognize Jesus When He Returns

Brother Li felt puzzled about whether the Lord’s image will change when He returns. He thought about how Brother Zhao was familiar with the Bible and often received enlightenment from reading it, so he went to Brother Zhao to seek and explore this question.

Upon seeing Brother Zhao, Brother Li said without preamble, “Brother Zhao, I’ll ask you a question. The Bible says, ‘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’ (Act 1:11). Based on this passage, I think the Lord Jesus will certainly descend in the image of a Jew because He rose to heaven in the form of a Jewish person. But some brothers and sisters don’t think so. I really do need to understand. So what do you think, will the Lord Jesus really arrive among us in the image of a Jew and in the clothes of the Jews?”

“It’s hard to say! What if the Lord comes back not in the image of a Jew? It cannot be guaranteed that this passage means that the Lord will come back as a Jew. Understanding the verses from a literal perspective makes it easy to define God. Didn’t the Pharisees make this kind of mistake? The Bible says, ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’ (Isa 9:6). After seeing this prophecy, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees created their bountiful imagination, thinking that the Messiah would certainly come with a commanding presence, different from the average person. Before the Lord Jesus arrived, they had begun to imagine His appearance. However, when the Lord came to do His work, He was ordinary in outward appearance, born in a manger but not a temple, and grew up in a carpenter’s home. Seeing that the Lord Jesus’ external appearance and birth were not as they had imagined, the Pharisees denied and condemned Him, just as Jehovah God said, ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, my people does not consider’ (Isa 1:2-3). The Pharisees had believed in God and served God for generations, but when the Lord Jesus came to do work, they judged God only based on the Lord Jesus’ external appearance instead of knowing God according to the Lord Jesus’ words and work. Because the external appearance, family’s background and work of the Lord Jesus didn’t fit in with their notions, they joined forces with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross. In the end, not only did they not welcome the Messiah, but they were cursed by God. The lesson of the Pharisees’ failure is a warning for us. So, we can’t define God’s image.” Brother Zhao fellowshiped.

Brother Li nodded thoughtfully.

Brother Zhao continued, “God’s image is not unchanging. Like during the Age of Law, God appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of the middle of a bush (See Exo 3:1-4). In the Age of Grace, the appearance of the Lord Jesus’ face once changed before His disciples, and His raiment was white and glistering, which was not the image of a Jew at all (See Luk 9:28-29). The Bible records, ‘God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth’ (Jhn 4:24). God is Spirit, He is formless. He can rise to the highest place and can also humble Himself as a person. But no matter in what image He appears, His essence is immutable. God’s appearance in the flesh can’t represent His disposition nor His inherent identity. We can’t treat God’s appearance in the flesh as His true image and can’t draw a conclusion that God was in the image of a Jewish man and He will be like this forever. If we define God this way, when the Lord returns not in the image of a Jew that we have imaged, then we won’t accept Him. Thus, we will easily miss God’s salvation in the last days.”

Feeling what Brother Zhao said made a lot of sense, Brother Li nodded and replied, “Yes. God’s image indeed cannot be defined by us humans. Now I can see that my point of view that ‘The Lord Jesus will return in the form of a Jewish person’ doesn’t hold up.”

Brother Zhao nodded his head and continued, “To welcome the Lord based on His words and work is the most crucial matter. I think of the woman of Samaria. After the Lord Jesus revealed her secrets buried in her heart, she recognized that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah, for she knew that only God can observe man’s innermost secrets. Then she happily gave the people in the city the testimony of the Lord Jesus. As a result, many Samaritans came to hear the Lord Jesus’ teachings with a humble heart, and finally they obtained the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and recognized the Lord through His words. Just as they said to the woman of Samaria, ‘Now we believe, not because of your saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world’ (Jhn 4:42). There’s also Nathanael. He recognized that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, for the Lord Jesus said He saw him when he was under the fig tree. … From this, we can see that we must know God from His words and work, not from the external appearance of the Lord Jesus. In the matter of welcoming the Lord’s coming, we should pay attention to hearing God’s words, like Nathanael. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’” (Jhn 10:27).

Brother Li interrupted Brother Zhao and said excitedly, “Oh! Now that you’ve said it, I suddenly remember that the Lord Jesus prophesied, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come’ (Jhn 16:12-13). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (See Rev 2-3). From these prophecies, we can see that the Lord Jesus will speak and utter His words when He comes back in the last days. So, when someone testifies that the Lord has returned and spoken and done His work, we should listen out for God’s voice and recognize the Lord from God’s words and work. Only thus can we welcome the Lord’s return and follow the footprints of the Lamb.”

Brother Zhao nodded and said, “Yes. Thank the Lord for His guidance.”

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