By Li Huan
Just like many other Christian brothers and sisters, I eagerly long for the second coming of the Lord Jesus. We abide by the following passage from the Bible: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). For this reason, we foolishly look up to the skies longing for the day that Jesus will return and take us up into the clouds so that we can be with the Lord. However, after so many years have passed, the four blood moons have already appeared; earthquakes, famines, plagues and war and all sorts of other disasters are becoming more and more intense. The prophecies of the Lord’s second coming have basically been fulfilled. However, we still have not seen one Christian raptured into heaven. I cannot help but think, “Why does the Lord not come to receive us? The Lord is trustworthy. The Lord promised that He would take us into the heavenly kingdom in the last days. The Lord’s promise certainly will be accomplished and fulfilled. I do not doubt this at all. Yet, how come up until now, we still have not been raptured by the Lord into heaven? Could it be that there are some problems with our longing?”
Just when I was feeling very perplexed, a preacher who had done work in foreign areas for many years came back and I received some new light from her. The sister replied directly to my question: “The Bible passage that you referred to was something that Paul said. It was not something that Jesus said. Paul was just an apostle. Even though his words were recorded in the Bible, only some of his words could be described as enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Even though his words were in accordance with the truth, they were not God’s words and they cannot be mentioned as if they were on equal terms with God’s words. Furthermore, some of what Paul said could not be described as enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Instead, it was derived from his notions and imaginations and it brings man’s meaning with it. These words are not based on God’s words. Therefore, when it comes to the matter of welcoming the second coming of the Lord, we must not use Paul’s words as a foundation. Instead, we should use the Lord’s words as a foundation and seek His intentions because only the Lord’s words are the truth and 100% accurate.” After I heard this, I thought, “Yes. Jesus indeed never said ‘raptured into heaven.’ These were Paul’s words. Paul was just a man. His words really cannot be equated to God’s words. We must not use Paul’s words as a basis for welcoming the second coming of the Lord. As someone who believes in God, I should use God’s words and God’s work as a basis. This is what is in accordance with God’s intentions!”
The sister continued speaking, “Jesus said: ‘And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven’ (John 3:13). From Jesus’ words, we could see that aside from the Son of man who came down from heaven, who is the incarnate God, nobody else ascended into heaven. Heaven is God’s throne. Only God Himself can ascend to this high place. As human beings, we cannot ascend into this high place to see God. Instead, when God first created man, He predestined that mankind would live on earth. God used the earth to create mankind’s ancestors Adam and Eve and helped them settle in the Garden of Eden. They listened to God’s words, received God’s blessings and managed everything within the garden. Afterward, mankind would also manage everything on the earth but not in heaven. When mankind was corrupted deeply and the earth was full of corruption and violence, God decided to use a flood to destroy the world. God saved Noah a righteous person who worships God but God did not rapture him into heaven so that he would avoid the flood waters. Instead, God made Noah build the ark. When the floods came, Noah's family of eight took shelter in the ark. After they emerged from the ark, Noah and his family continued to live on earth and multiply. During the Age of Law, the Israelites suffered under enslavement by the hands of Egypt’s Pharaoh. When God led the Israelites out of Egypt and helped them escape the Pharaoh’s hunting, God did not rapture the Israelites into heaven. Instead, God showed His authority on earth by performing all sorts of miracles so that people could witness God’s almightiness and know God’s wisdom and how wonderful He is. Afterward, God issued His laws and commandments through Moses and guided the Israelites on how to live on earth. During the Age of Grace, when mankind was unable to adhere to the laws and faced the dangers of execution, man did not go to heaven to atone for his sins. Instead, God incarnated into the image of Jesus and came down to earth. To save mankind, He was nailed to the cross. This was the only way for man to obtain the Lord’s salvation. Clearly, we, as human beings, belong on the earth. God predestined us to live on the earth. Additionally, Jesus taught us: ‘After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:9–10). The words that the Lord speaks contain His intentions. The Lord wants us to worship Him on earth. Christ’s kingdom will also descend onto the earth. There is a prophecy in the Book of Revelation that reads: ‘And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God’ (Revelation 21:3). Clearly, our desire to be raptured into heaven to meet the Lord is completely our own notion and imagination and it is absolutely not a fact.” After I listened to my sister communicate, I understood very clearly that regardless if we look at the work that God did in the past or the Lord’s prophecies, God never mentioned that we would be raptured into heaven. If we still believe that God will return and rapture us into heaven, isn’t this our own notion and imagination? Isn’t this our own delusional thinking? Fundamentally, this is not in accordance with God’s words and intentions! My heart felt like things had cleared up. However, I still had one more question: Even though our acceptance of rapture is wrong, just what does rapture refer to? I continued to ask this sister to seek in regard to this question.
The sister said, “In regard to rapture, this is a mystery and we, as human beings, are unable to fathom it., Christ of the last days, has come and expressed millions of words and revealed all sorts of truths and mysteries. I only came to an understanding of what I just communicated from reading God’s words. In regard to the subject of rapture, let’s take a look at God’s words. Almighty God said: ‘“Being caught up” is not being taken from a low place to a high place as people imagine. This is a huge mistake. Being caught up is referring to My predestining and selecting. It is targeted at all those I have predestined and chosen. … This is most incompatible with people’s notions. Those who have a share in My house in the future are all people who have been caught up before Me. This is absolutely true, never-changing, and cannot be refuted by anybody. This is the counterattack against Satan. Anyone I predestined shall be caught up before Me’ (‘Chapter 104’ of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words we can see that rapture is not the way we’ve imagined it to be. It is not ascending from the earth to heaven to see God. Instead, it refers to those who God has predetermined and selected. This includes those who can hear God’s voice and accept God’s work. They will come before God when God comes to earth to do His work. These are the people who are brought before God. This is similar to the last period of the Age of Law. When Jesus came to do His work, all those who could tell that Jesus’ words were the voice of God and accepted Jesus as the Lord of salvation were brought before God. This included Peter, John, Matthew and other disciples, the apostles and all those who accepted the Lord’s salvation. They were all brought before God. As for all those who adhered to the Old Testament Bible such as the Pharisees and the common people, not only did they not accept God’s salvation, they convicted, resisted and blasphemed God’s new work. Not only were these people not brought before God, instead, they were thoroughly revealed, eliminated and abandoned by God’s new work. Now, it is already the last days and Almighty God has done a new work and expressed words that cleanse and save man. Those who can tell that it is God’s voice speaking God’s words, follow the footsteps of the Lamb and accept God’s new work of the last days will be brought before God. Since Almighty God’s work of the last days unfolded, more and more truly faithful brothers and sisters, from reading the words of Almighty God, believe firmly that Almighty God’s words are the truth and that they are the words that the Holy Spirit speaks to the churches. One after another, they have returned before Almighty God. They are all clever virgins and they have accepted the watering, nourishing, judgment and chastisement of God’s words. Their corrupt dispositions have gradually been cleansed and they truly know God. These people are all brought before God. As for those who foolishly wait for the Lord to come and rapture them up into heaven where they will meet God, they simply adhere to their own notion and imagination. Not only do they not seek and investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days, they judge, slander and resist God’s new work. They are all foolish virgins. Not only will they not be brought before God, they will, in the end, descend into the midst of disaster and be punished by God.”
After I heard these things from this sister, I suddenly saw the light. As it turns out, rapture refers to us accepting God’s new work, following the footsteps of the Lamb and coming before God. The way she communicated this was indeed very illuminating. It is much more realistic than how we originally believed that we would be raptured into heaven where we would meet the Lord. If it were not for God’s words opening up this mystery, regardless of how long we believe in the Lord, we would not be able to understand. We would be living within our notion and imagination and we would foolishly await the Lord to rapture us into the kingdom of heaven!
After this sister left, I repeatedly reflected on what she said. I recognized that if we want to be brought before God, the key is that we must open-mindedly seek the words that the Holy Spirit speaks to the churches. We must be clever virgins and proactively seek and investigate the Lord’s voice. In this manner, we will be able to welcome the return of the Lord and be brought before God! At this moment, I thought of one of Jesus’ teachings: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:3, 8). I am thankful that God’s enlightenment has helped me find a practical path. I finally understand the true meaning of rapture. Presently, all sorts of disasters are occurring one after another in countries around the world. The great disaster is before our eyes and seeking God’s appearance is imminent. Today, onlybears witness to the fact that the Lord has already returned. Additionally, the gospel of The Church of Almighty God has already reached all corners of the globe. Its books, videos and movies are available online and people from all around the world can access them and investigate. Right now, the only thing that I should do is to investigate Almighty God’s words immediately and see whether or not Almighty God’s words are God’s voice and the truth. This is the most crucial major event when it comes to welcoming the return of the Lord!