Answer: To understand whether the kingdom of heaven is actually in heaven or on the earth, first we must understand what the kingdom of heaven really is. Everyone knows that “heaven” usually refers to the celestial, to God. So naturally, the kingdom of heaven refers to God’s kingdom, and it is the kingdom where God is in power, it is Christ’s kingdom. So then is God’s kingdom on earth, or is it in heaven? First let’s look at what the Lord’s prayer says. “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:9–10). The Lord Jesus’ words are very clear. The Lord requires that we pray for God’s kingdom to come down to the earth, so that His will may be carried out on earth. The Lord Jesus did not say that God’s kingdom would be established in heaven, and He particularly did not have us hope and pray for the day we would be raptured up to heaven. So isn’t always hoping to be taken up to heaven to enter into God’s kingdom out of line with the Lord’s words, and out of line with His will? Let’s take a look at a prophecy in Revelation: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev 11:15). “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev 21:2–4). These two passages mention these two things: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.” “New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.” “The tabernacle of God is with men.” These refer to the kingdom of Christ being realized on earth.’s work of judgment in the last days is to establish the kingdom of Christ on earth. Before the great disaster comes upon the earth, God is going to make a group of overcomers, and this group will be the pillars of God’s kingdom. They are the ones who will rule alongside God in the kingdom of Christ. In the disaster, those who have been perfected by God will be the people of God’s kingdom. Those who have never accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days will be exposed and eliminated by God, and they will have no part of the kingdom of Christ. The prophecies in the Book of Revelation start with the utterances of God incarnate in the last days, and then go to the end of the great disaster when the kingdom of Christ is realized on earth, and then go on to the eternity of a new heaven and a new earth. When these prophecies are all fulfilled and completed, God’s management plan will fully be fulfilled. So, all those who accept Almighty God’s work in the last days, as long as they have been purified and perfected, will be the people of the kingdom of Christ. They are the ones who God will make into the group of overcomers before the disaster. They are those who are able to heed God’s words, and obey and worship Him. When the great disaster comes, those people will be protected and kept by God. But those who live in vagueness and imagination, who just long to be raptured into the sky and meet with the Lord but do not accept Christ’s judgment and purification in the last days will be dealt with in the disaster. Most people will be destroyed, and a minority of people will turn toward God through the crucible of the disaster. These are all true things that God is going to do soon.
The Lord Jesus promised us: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jhn 14:2–3). There is some kind of mystery within these words. If we look at them through our own notions and imaginations, then the Lord Jesus returned to heaven, so He was certainly preparing a place for us in heaven. Looking at it that way is a huge mistake! In God’s work, we absolutely cannot rely on our own notions and imaginations because His work is unfathomable for human beings. We can only gain clarity on these things once He has completed them and they have been laid out in front of us. I didn’t understand either until after I had accepted Almighty God's work in the last days, and I had seen the facts of the work that He has completed. The Lord Jesus returning to prepare a place for us was actually for us to be born in the last days, accept the work of God incarnate in the last days, undergo His judgment, be purified and perfected, and finally to be brought into the kingdom of Christ. Think about it. God has become flesh and walks among mankind, He has expressed the truth to do the work of judgment in the last days, and we have heard the voice of God and are raised up to stand before Him. Is this not Him coming to meet us? We eat and drink God’s words, we savor His words, we experience His work, and we attend the feast with God. Isn’t that meeting the Lord? When the day comes that God’s work is complete, when we have been purified and perfected, we will be brought into God’s kingdom. Christ reigns in the, and we will worship God as His people in His kingdom. Doesn’t this fulfill the Lord's prophecy, “where I am, there you may be also”?
Let’s read a few passages from Almighty God’s words, see how the kingdom of Christ will be realized on earth, what the beauty of the kingdom will be. Almighty God says, “The kingdom is expanding in humanity’s midst, it is forming in humanity’s midst, and it is standing up in humanity’s midst; there is no force that can destroy My kingdom. … I am now walking abroad amongst My people and I live in their midst. Today, those who bear genuine love for Me—such people are blessed. Blessed are those who submit to Me, they will surely stay in My kingdom. Blessed are those who know Me, they will surely wield power in My kingdom. Blessed are those who seek after Me, they will surely escape from Satan’s bonds and enjoy My blessings. Blessed are those who are able to forsake themselves, they will surely enter into My possession and inherit My kingdom’s bounty. Those who run around for Me I will remember, those who make expenditures for Me I will joyfully embrace, and to those who make offerings to Me I will grant enjoyments. Those who find enjoyment in My words I will bless; they will surely be the pillars that hold up the ridgepole in My kingdom, they will surely have matchless abundance in My house, and no one can compare with them. Have you ever accepted the blessings that you were given? Have you ever sought the promises that were made for you? You will surely, under the guidance of My light, break through the stranglehold of the forces of darkness. You will surely not, in the midst of darkness, lose the light guiding you. You will surely be the master of all creation. You will surely be an overcomer before Satan. You will surely, at the downfall of the kingdom of the great red dragon, stand up amid the myriad throngs to bear witness to My victory. You will surely stand firm and unwavering in the land of Sinim. Through the sufferings you endure, you will inherit My blessings, and will surely radiate My glory throughout the entire universe” (“Chapter 19” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in).
“As My words are consummated, the kingdom is gradually formed on earth and man is gradually returned to normality, and thus there is established on earth the kingdom in My heart. In the kingdom, all the people of God recover the life of normal man. Gone is the frosty winter, replaced by a world of cities of spring, where spring lasts all year. No longer are people faced with the gloomy, miserable world of man, and no longer do they endure the cold chill of the world of man. People do not fight with each other, countries do not go to war against each other, no longer is there carnage and the blood that flows from carnage; all lands are filled with happiness, and everywhere teems with warmth between men. I move throughout the world, I enjoy from atop My throne, and I live among the stars. The angels offer unto Me new songs and new dances. No longer does their own fragility cause tears to run down their faces. No longer do I hear, before Me, the sound of the angels weeping, and no longer does anyone complain of hardship to Me. Today, you all live before Me; tomorrow, you will all exist in My kingdom. Is this not the greatest blessing that I bestow upon man?” (“Chapter 20” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Once the work of conquest has been completed, man will be brought into a beautiful world. This life will, of course, still be on earth, but it will be totally unlike man’s life today. It is the life that mankind will have after the whole of mankind has been conquered, it will be a new beginning for man on earth, and for mankind to have such a life will be proof that mankind has entered a new and beautiful realm. It will be the beginning of the life of man and God on earth. The premise of such a beautiful life must be that, after man has been purified and conquered, he submits before the Creator. And so, the work of conquest is the last stage of God’s work before mankind enters the wonderful destination. Such a life is man’s future life on earth, the most beautiful life on earth, the kind of life that man longs for, the kind that man has never before achieved in the history of the world. It is the final outcome of the 6,000 years of work of management; it is what mankind yearns for most, and it is also God’s promise to man. But this promise cannot come to pass immediately: Man will enter the future destination only once the work of the last days has been completed and he has been completely conquered, that is, once Satan has been utterly defeated. After man has been refined, he will be without a sinful nature, because God will have defeated Satan, meaning that there will be no encroachment by hostile forces, and no hostile forces at all that can attack the flesh of man. And so man will be free and holy—he will have entered eternity” (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“When humans have been restored to their original likeness, and when they can fulfill their respective duties, keep to their own proper places and submit to all of God’s arrangements, God will have obtained a group of people upon the earth who worship Him, and He will also have established a kingdom upon the earth that worships Him. He will have eternal victory upon the earth, and all those who are opposed to Him will perish for all eternity. This will restore His original intention in creating humanity; it will restore His intention in creating all things, and it will also restore His authority upon earth, among all things, and among His enemies. These will be the symbols of His total victory. Thenceforth, humanity will enter into rest and begin a life that is on the right track. God will also enter into eternal rest with humanity, and commence an eternal life shared by both Himself and humans. The filth and disobedience upon the earth will have disappeared, and all the wailing will have dissipated, and everything in this world that opposes God will have ceased to exist. Only God and those people to whom He has brought salvation will remain; only His creation will remain” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“I move above all men and am watching everywhere. Nothing ever looks old, and no person is as he used to be. I rest upon the throne, I recline above the whole universe, and I am fully satisfied, for all things have recovered their holiness, and I can peacefully reside within Zion once again, and the people on earth can lead serene, contented lives under My guidance. All peoples are managing everything in My hand, all peoples have regained their former intelligence and original appearance; they are no longer covered with dust, but, in My kingdom, are as holy as jade, each with a face like that of the holy one within man’s heart, for My kingdom has been established among man” (“Chapter 16” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Throughout the world, only God and man exist. There is no dust or dirt, and all things are renewed, like a little lamb lying in a green grassland beneath the sky, enjoying all of God’s grace. And it is because of the arrival of greenness that the breath of life shines forth, for God comes to the world to live alongside man for all eternity, just as it was said from God’s mouth that ‘I can peacefully reside within Zion once again.’ This is the symbol of Satan’s defeat, it is the day of God’s rest, and this day shall be extolled and proclaimed by all people, and commemorated by all people. When God is at rest upon the throne, that is also the time when God concludes His work on earth, and it is the very moment that all of God’s mysteries are shown to man; God and man will be forever in harmony, never apart—such are the beautiful scenes of the kingdom!” (“Chapter 16” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Excerpted from the movie script of Yearning
What is the rapture really? Most people aren’t quite clear about that. ...“Being caught up” is not what we think—being taken into the air from the earth and meeting the Lord in the clouds. Nor is it being taken up to heaven. It means that when God returns to earth to speak His words and do His work, we will hear God’s voice and will be able to follow Him and obey His work in the last days. This is the true meaning of being caught up before God’s throne.
God has never used units of time to establish a person’s outcome, and He has never used the amount of suffering endured by someone to establish their outcome. Then what does God use as a standard for establishing man’s outcome? ... God uses trials to establish the outcome of man. There are two standards for using trials to establish man’s outcome: The first is the number of trials that people undergo, and the second is the people’s result in these trials. It is these two indicators that establish man’s outcome.
“God created all things, and so He makes all creation come under His dominion, and submit to His dominion; He will command all things, so that all things are in His hands. All creation of God, including animals, plants, mankind, the mountains and rivers, and the lakes—all must come under His dominion. All things in the skies and on the ground must come under His dominion. They cannot have any choice, and must all submit to His orchestrations"
Was the Lord Jesus Christ God’s Son or God Himself? ...“I am in the Father, and the Father in me,” “I and my Father are one.” Now, according to the Lord Jesus’ words, can we not confirm that the Lord Jesus is God Himself, there is only one God and there is no “Father-Son relationship” to speak of? ...the incarnate Christ is God Himself, all because He is the Spirit of God realized in His flesh. In other words, God puts on the flesh to become the Son of man to work and speak in the world. Isn’t this the appearance of God?