By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
Bible Devotions: Is Heaven the Place for Man to Live?
By Chen Bo
One day, I went to my younger sister’s house to visit my mother. When I was leaving, my younger sister, who was also a believer in the Lord, gave me a book, and she told me to be sure to read it carefully. I thought: It must be a spiritual book. Now I’m thirsty in the spirit and can’t feel the Lord’s presence, and I receive no light when reading the. I will read it carefully. After being back home, I began to read the book. Unknowingly, I was drawn to its words. The more I read it, the more I loved it, and the more I felt the words in it were from the work of the , and could lay bare man’s thoughts and considerations, and that they could not be spoken by man. Since I began to read the book, my heart became brightened, my spirit felt enjoyment, and I was willing to and come close to the Lord. I thought only the work of the Holy Spirit can give people faith, and supply and nourish man in the spirit. I felt I could not read enough of its words, and the first thing I did every morning after I got up was to read the book.
One day I opened the book and saw: “God entering into rest means that He will no longer carry out His work of humanity’s salvation. Humanity entering into rest means that all of humanity will live within God’s light and under His blessings; there will be none of Satan’s corruption, nor will any unrighteous things occur. Humanity will live normally upon earth, and they will live under God’s care”. When I read this, my heart skipped a beat. I said to myself: Humanity will live upon earth? How could it be on earth? Did I read it wrong? I read them through again. It did say that humanity would live upon earth in the future. How is it so? Has the Lord not promised us a life in heaven? Why do the words say man will live on earth? Well, I must figure it out.
I continued my reading. “God has God’s destination, and man has man’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth. While in God’s light, man will worship the one true God in heaven. … When humanity enters into rest, it means that man has become a true creation; humanity willfrom 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”. Worship God on earth? Not in heaven? How could man be on earth? This is wrong! At once, I opened the Bible and turned to John 14:2-3, in which said: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. 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.” I thought, “ Christ has resurrected and ascended to heaven to prepare a place for us, so our destination should be in heaven, for that is the promise of the Lord. But this book says differently from the Lord. I won’t read it anymore.” After I closed the book, I was troubled and at a loss about what to do. So I prayed to the Lord over and over in my heart, “O Lord, may You lead and guide me. Should I read the book or not? O Lord, please lead me….” Later, I remembered that after reading the book I grew closer to the Lord, my faith increased, and I received much supply in the spirit. If I put aside the book, I would definitely return to the former state of being thirsty in the spirit. Since it was of such great help to me in the spirit, it would be better for me to read on.
So I picked up the book and continued. “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; He will lead them from heaven, not from earth. …”. I pondered, “These words say God’s place of rest is in heaven and that while man rests, he will worship God and also live upon earth. Is man’s place of rest truly on earth as spoken in these words? It’s impossible! Jesus Christ said that He would let us be where He was. Jesus Christ has ascended to heaven, so we must go up to heaven too. I have travelled so many roads and suffered so much for the Lord in these years; I do all that just for going to heaven and no longer suffering on earth!” I collapsed onto the kang, weak all over. The more I thought, the more I could not calm down. In order to get to the bottom of it, I hurried to my younger sister’s house.
Arriving there, I saw a middle-aged woman, and my sister told me to call her Sister Li. Then I told Sister Li my notion about the book after reading it. Sister Li said, “All the believers in the Lord hold that Jesus Christ will surely come to take us to live with Him in heaven in the future, for He has ever promised to prepare a place for us so we may also be where He is. But is there any proof to such imagination and hope? If the Lord will come to take man to live in heaven with Him as man imagines, then the Lord’s prayer ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10) and the prophecy in the Revelation ‘… 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)—how will they be fulfilled? If the destination God prepares for us is in heaven, then what’s the point of making man live on earth when God created man in the beginning?” I refuted defiantly, “The verses did say that, but the Lord also said personally, ‘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’ (John 14:2-3). After the Lord ascended to heaven, where He was, He will let us be there. The Lord promised that we will go to heaven and have eternal life; no man can deny it.” Sister Li said with patience, “We should not interpret the Lord’s words literally based on our imagination. It says in Genesis 2:7-8, ‘And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.’ God formed man of the dust of the ground, and planted a garden in the east, in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. This shows that God created man on earth, man lives on earth, and so man’s future destination will also be on earth, not in heaven. …” The more I listened, the angrier I became. At last I stood up and said to Sister Li, “Drop it! These years I have run around, expended myself, and endured sufferings for the Lord. I do that just for going to heaven. But you say man’s destination is on earth; I can’t accept it!” With that, I turned and wanted to leave. My sister stopped me and said anxiously, “Sister, why are you so stubborn? Are you right to hold onto that? You don’t know the real meaning of the Lord’s words, yet you hold onto your understanding; are you not foolish? Our longed-for Jesus Christ has returned!is the returned Lord! And the book I gave you is . Every day we are expecting the Lord to come back to receive us. Now He has come back. We should listen carefully and never miss the rare opportunity!”
I was greatly surprised to hear her words and could hardly believe my ears. The Lord has come back? Is it true? My sister continued, “You said you have received much supply and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit from reading the book. Nothing except the Lord’s words can supply man and quench the thirst in man’s spirit. The Lord has come back to do His work and expressed new words. If we don’t seek or investigate, but rather, we blindly hold to our notion and imagination, cling to the literal meanings of the scriptures, in the end we will ruin ourselves. Those Pharisees who were versed in the Bible obstinately held onto the words of the Bible and believed that He who came and was not called the Messiah was not the Lord. They did not look at whether the way of Jesus Christ could provide man with life and bring to man the truth, the way, and the life; instead, they obstinately clung to the literal meanings of scriptures and rejected the salvation of Jesus Christ according to their notion and imagination. Ultimately they nailed the Lord to the cross and committed a heinous crime. We must not follow in the tracks of the Pharisees to resist God and reject the Lord’s salvation.” I thought to myself, “Her words sound reasonable. Only the Lord’s words are capable of quenching the thirst in man’s spirit. Since I read the words in the book, my spiritual condition has actually become ever better, and I can feel the presence of the Lord. The Lord’s coming is a great event. I must seek carefully. I should never oppose God like the Pharisees!” At that moment, I felt both delighted and afraid. My expectation in believing in the Lord—longing for the Lord to come and take me to heaven to live a carefree life and end the miserable life on earth—was about to come true. But if Almighty God was the returned Lord, my dream of being taken to heaven would be shattered. … I had mixed and inexplicable feelings. In helplessness, I had to pray, “O Lord! Every day I am longing for You to come and take me to heaven, but they say the destination You prepare for man is on earth. I really can’t face the fact. I don’t want to continue living the miserable life on earth. O Lord, now I’m very painful within. May You help me and guide me along the path ahead. In the name of the enter into the kingdom of heaven. I should be a person poor in spirit and listen more.Christ I pray, amen!” After the prayer, I remembered the words of the Lord: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is ” (Matthew 5:3). Right! Only the poor in spirit can
Then Sister Li said, “The Lord once said: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:8). We should listen to the Lord and be pure in heart to welcome the Lord’s return. Although the work God does today is not in accord with our notion and imagination, yet everything He does is good, and is for the sake of man, and there is God’s will in it. So we should put ourselves aside when we cannot see it through. As long as we sincerely seek the truth, we shall understand God’s will and God’s work. If you have any question, speak it out, and we can fellowship about it.” I felt what Sister Li said was reasonable. I really should quiet my heart and seek. So I said, “I don’t understand why the Lord does not allow man to go to heaven but make man stay on earth?” Sister Li found two verses for me to read, “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). “… The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool” (Isaiah 66:1). And she fellowshiped with me about their meanings. Through her fellowship, I was enlightened all of a sudden, and I felt brightened within. I thought, “I know these two verses; why have I never thought about them? The Lord plainly said that no man but the Son of man who came down from heaven has ever ascended up to heaven, and that the heaven is God’s throne and the earth is God’s footstool. How can man be worthy to go up to heaven? God created man on earth and made man live on earth, which is unchangeable by any man. Man has lived and multiplied on earth from generation to generation since God’s creation of man. No man can change the way of living God set for man. My imagination I hold to that God will take me to live in heaven when He returns is not factual.” However, I was still unwilling to continue living a life of being afflicted by Satan on earth. I told the sister my thought.
Then she read me a passage of Almighty God’s word: “The life in rest is one without war, without filth, without persisting unrighteousness. This is to say that it lacks Satan’s harassment (here ‘Satan’ refers to hostile forces), Satan’s corruption, as well as the invasion of any force opposed to God. Everything follows its own kind and worships the Lord of creation. Heaven and earth are entirely tranquil. This is humanity’s restful life. … After God and man enter into rest, Satan will no longer exist, and like Satan, those wicked people will also no longer exist. Before God and man enter into rest, those wicked individuals who once persecuted God upon earth and the enemies who were disobedient to Him upon earth will have already been destroyed; they will have been destroyed by the great disasters of the last days. After those wicked individuals have been completely destroyed, earth will never again know Satan’s harassment. Humanity will obtain complete salvation, and it will only be then that God’s work ends completely. These are the prerequisites for God and man to enter into rest”.
From the words of Almighty God, I knew: Although we will still live on earth in the future, Satan will be destroyed when God’s work of saving man concludes, and man’s life on earth will no longer be harassed by Satan, and be one without pain or worry, without tears or sighs. Just as when Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, man will worship the one true God freely and lead a life of God’s being with man. This is man’s future destination, and also what God will accomplish in the end. It’s so great! Who can speak about man’s destination so plainly and clearly? Only God can! Through Almighty God’s word I recognized the work of the true God, and I was certain that Almighty God is the returned Jesus Christ. At last, my notion was completely dispelled, and I happily accepted God’s work of the last days and returned before Almighty God. All the glory be to Almighty God!