By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
Almighty God’s Word Made Me Know the True Meaning of “Rapture”
When I went into the big church, I saw many sisters and brothers seated in good order. A brother was standing on the platform and said, “Brothers and sisters, peace to you in the Lord! Please turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The apostle Paul said, ‘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…’” Then a sister suddenly stood up and asked, “Pastor Gao, how shall we be raptured by the Lord? Can we really be raptured to meet the Lord in the air?” Pastor Gao said with certainty, “We should believe that what we are waiting for shall never fall through, for the Lord’s word is faithful. As it is said in the , ‘For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen…’ (2 Corinthians 1:20) Therefore, the Lord will come again in the last days, take all those who truly love Him into the sky to meet Him and attend the wedding feast of the Lamb. Among believers of Him, those who have a good faith, those who devote and spend in obscurity, and those who is loyal will be rewarded and taken into to enjoy the good blessings forever.” The brothers and sisters discussed excitedly, and I also indulged in fantasy: It’s unbelievable! How do I deserve to be so lucky to get God’s blessings, and be taken into heaven to meet the Lord and be with Him forever? Then I made a resolution inwardly to truly believe in the Lord, spread the , and satisfy Him with all my might. And I believe that I’ll surely be taken into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes.
Several years passed, however, our church became more and more desolate. The brothers and sisters all lost their former faith and love, and grew increasingly passive and weak. Our preachers felt dark in the spirit and had nothing to preach. I also lost previous resolution of pursuit, and began to doubt what the pastor said on the matter of being raptured into the kingdom of heaven. One day when I was doing my spiritual devotion, I read Revelation 21:2-3, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven… 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.” I thought to myself, “Does it mean that God’s kingdom will come on earth and God will personally dwell with man? Then is it wrong that we have been expecting to be ‘raptured’ to the air? What actually does ‘being raptured’ mean?” I could not understand anyway…
One day, after the supper, I had an inexplicable feeling of fluster, so I just went out for a walk, and saw Brother Liu, a fellow villager, working in the fields before his house. I heard that he also believed in the Lord, and had been at other places before he returned recently. Then I walked toward him to have a talk with him. He looked up and saw me, and said kindly, “Isn’t this Brother Jin? It’s been a long time to see you. Please have a rest in my house.” I said happily, “Okay. Somehow, I walked my way here.” While talking, Brother Liu brought me into his house. He warmly asked me to take a seat, and said with a smile, “Brother, I’ve long expected such an opportunity to fellowship with you. Thank God for His arrangement.” I felt Brother Liu was very sincere, so I wanted to tell my confusion to him.
I thought for a while and asked, “Brother Liu, we both believed in the Lord for many years. To be honest, there is a question that has puzzled me all along. It’s said in Scripture that the remaining portion of humanity will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord, while the Book of Revelation prophesied ‘new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven’ and ‘the tabernacle of God is with men.’ It seems that God’s kingdom will come on earth. I don’t know where man will be raptured, in heaven or on earth?” Brother Liu smiled and said, “It is really the enlightenment and guidance of God that you can raise such a question! In the past, I was also puzzled about it. Brother, could you tell me where God created man in the beginning?” I said, “Of course on earth. The Genesis of the Bible says clearly that God created Adam and Eve with dust and then put them in the Garden of Eden.” Brother Liu continued, “Since God created man on earth, we could not be taken into heaven. Heaven is God’s dwelling place, and who dares be on an equal footing with God? Let’s look at what the Lord 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) Obviously, there is no such an example of being taken into heaven in the Bible. That is just man’s notions and imaginations; it’s untenable at all. Besides, the conception ‘rapture’, which we hold on to, was put forward by Paul, not by the . Paul was a corrupt man, not God. Only Christ is the truth, the way and the life. Man’s word is after all man’s word. Even though there is enlightenment of the in it, it can’t be treated as . It is said in Revelation 11:15, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.’ This means God’s kingdom will be built on earth; the kingdoms of this world will surely become the kingdoms of Christ and last forever. Therefore, after being saved thoroughly by God, man will still live on earth rather than be taken into heaven as we imagine.” Then, Brother Liu took out a book from the drawer, and said, “This is a very good book, and it can end our confusion. Let’s read one passage together, ‘God will return to His original position, and each person will return to his or her respective place. These are the destinations that God and man will respectively reside in after the end of God’s entire management. God has God’s destination, and man has man’s destination. God in rest will continue to guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth. Man in God’s light will worship the one true God in heaven. … When humanity enters into rest, it means that man has become a true creation; humanity will from upon the earth and have normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist God; they will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These are the respective lives and destinations of God and humanity after they enter into rest. Satan’s defeat is an inevitable trend in the war between God and Satan. In this way, God’s entering into rest after the completion of His management work and man’s complete salvation and entrance into rest likewise become inevitable trends. Man’s place of rest is on earth, and God’s place of rest is in heaven. While man rests, he will worship God and also live upon earth, and while God rests, He will lead the remaining portion of humanity….’ (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) These words tell us that God and man will enter into rest together in the future. God’s place of rest is in heaven while man’s place of rest is still on earth. This is the good destination God has prepared for man, which is to say that God’s kingdom will come on earth. If ‘rapture’ refers to being taken into heaven as we think, then won’t these prophecies fail? So as we can see, man’s destination is on earth instead of in heaven. That is ordinated by God.”
Hearing brother’s fellowship, I thought to myself: That’s right. God created man on earth. How can man go to heaven? Before, I was doubtful about “rapture” and thought it was impossible and vague, but I was unclear about it. After Brother Liu’s fellowship, I understand a little. During my over twenty years of believing in the Lord, I have never heard such a fellowship as Brother Liu’s. It’s fresh and practical. Then I asked, “Brother Liu, what does ‘be caught up’ in Scripture actually refer to?”
Brother Liu said mildly, “Brother, about the truth of ‘being raptured,’ let me read another passage of words, ‘“Being raptured” does not mean being taken from a lower place to a higher place as man imagines. That is greatly wrong. “Being raptured” means that one who was predestined by Me is chosen, and it is directed at all those who were predestined and then chosen. … This is most discordant with man’s notion. Whoever has a part in My future family is one who is caught up to Me. This is absolutely true; it will never change, and no one can refute it. This is a counterattack to Satan. Whoever I predestined will be caught up to Me.’ (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) These words are very clear. ‘Being raptured’ does not mean being taken from a lower place to a higher place, from earth to heaven as we imagine, but means man can accept and obey it as the wise virgins when God does a new work. Just as the Bible says, ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes.’ (Revelation 14:4) Therefore, man is taken up before God’s throne when he follows God’s footsteps. Just as in the Age of Law, man was required to keep the laws and commandments. However, in the later phase of that age, man failed to keep the laws and was in the danger of being stoned to death or burned by heavenly fire. So God came to flesh personally and did the redemptive work, and bestowed upon man abundant grace. If man walked out of the law, followed God’s new work, and gained the Lord Jesus’ redemption, then he was ‘raptured.’ Likewise, according to man’s needs, God has done a new work after the work of the Age of Grace. Only if man follows the new work will he be ‘raptured’ before God’s throne.”
I thought for a while and said, “So, ‘being raptured’ refers to following God’s new work and being caught up to God, rather than being taken up to the air. The Book of Revelation also mentions many times that God’s kingdom will be established on earth eventually, and that God will come to earth and live with man together. Rapture into heaven is only our imagination! My former understanding was too deviant and erroneous, and I considered it to be too supernatural and vague. How ridiculous! After hearing your fellowship today, I really gained a lot, and also feel ashamed.” Brother Liu said happily, “Thank God.” Pondering for a while, I said, “Brother Liu, your fellowship is so good and practical. But you said that God has done a new work; I don’t understand. We’ve already been saved through our belief in the Lord Jesus. Why does God still do the new work?”
Brother Liu replied, “The question you asked is crucial. Many brothers and sisters who believe in the Lord all think like that. But is our view after God’s heart? Let’s read a passage of God’s word, ‘It is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as sinners because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? … You have missed a step in your belief in God: you have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.’ (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) These words tell us man is forgiven for his sins and is not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of the Lord Jesus, but it does not mean man is not sinful. Because the Lord Jesus didn’t do the work of transforming and cleansing man’s corrupt disposition, man’s sinful nature still exists, so that man can still sin, and resist and disobey God at any time. God is holy and righteous. God once said, ‘… you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.’ (Leviticus 11:45) God will definitely not allow the filthy and corrupt man to enter His kingdom, so man cannot enter God’s kingdom until he has been cleansed. And the only path for man to be cleansed is to accept God’s new work, that is, the work of judgment and chastisement done by —the returned Lord Jesus. Only those who have experienced God’s work of judgment in the last days and been cleansed are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. Let me read one more passage of God’s word, ‘You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly law, and no one can break it! … If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your effort will be in vain—and this is an unalterable truth! (from The word Appears in the Flesh) The words above tell us God’s will. If our belief in the Lord only looks to enter into the kingdom of heaven and gain rewards, yet we are not rid of our corrupt disposition, and can still resist and disobey God, then we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is a heavenly law, and is also the true revelation of God’s righteous disposition. So we should drop our conceptions and imaginations, follow God’s footsteps, accept God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, and thus be cleansed eventually.”
I was shocked at those words, and thought inwardly, “These words have authority and speak my mind. It’s the fact that we believe in Lord only look to enter into the kingdom of heaven and gain rewards. So, such pursuit is against God’s will. Only those who are truly cleansed can enter into God’s kingdom.” I thought about it for a moment, and then said, “These words are all fact. We are still living in the condition of sinning and confessing and being overwhelmed by sins, without breaking free from the bondage of sin. After listening to your fellowship today, it seems we really need God to do another stage of work of cleansing. Now I don’t understand it well, but I’m willing to investigate more. Could you lend me the book?” Brother Liu said delightedly, “Sure.” While saying, Brother Liu passed the book to me, “It’s too late today. We can fellowship together the other day if you have any confusion.” I said, “Okay!”