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What Does “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” Mean? How Can We Be Overcomers?
Nowadays, all manner of disasters are occurring one after another, such as earthquakes, famines, epidemics, floods, droughts, and plagues of locusts, and the areas affected are growing larger and larger in scale. The prophecies in the Bible concerning the Lord’s return have now largely been fulfilled, thereby proving that the Lord has already returned. Yet there are many brothers and sisters who still feel confused and say, “We’ve always kept the Lord’s name since we started to believe. We are tolerant and patient as the Lord teaches us to be, and we are capable of giving everything up and working hard for the Lord. This makes us the overcomers, and when the Lord arrives He will raise us up into the air and we will enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven with Him. But now the four blood moons have been seen and disasters have become so great, and yet we still haven’t been caught up into the air. Why is that?” Actually, if we wish to understand this issue, we must understand what exactly pre-tribulation means, and what it means to be made into overcomers before the disasters.
What Does Pre-Tribulation Rapture Mean?
On this issue, many people believe that being caught up means to be raised up into the air, just as Paul says: “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). We imagine being caught up to mean rising from the earth up into heaven, but is it really as we imagine it to be? The Bible says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, said Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9). We can see from God’s words that the thoughts of God are higher than the thoughts of man. God views things from the viewpoint of God and does the work He does, whereas we human beings view the Lord’s work from our viewpoint as human beings, and we are therefore prone to delimit the Lord’s work by relying on our own imaginings and even to resist the Lord. Take the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament, for example. The Pharisees imagined that God would surely come as an extraordinary man and that He would be born in a palace. What actually happened, however, was that the Lord Jesus was born in a manger, and His appearance was that of an ordinary man. Because they clung to their own notions and imaginings, the Pharisees therefore condemned the Lord Jesus’ work and colluded with the Roman authorities to crucify the Lord, thereby committing a heinous sin against God. This shows us even more clearly that the way God’s prophecy is fulfilled and accomplished is not something that we human beings can delimit, and our notions and imaginings are never accurate.
If we wish to understand correctly what pre-tribulation rapture means, we need to view this issue according to the words and work of the Lord Jesus. The Lord told us very clearly: “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). And Revelation 21:3 says, “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.” We can see from these verses that, “being caught up” is not what we think—being brought up into heaven, for besides the incarnated God Himself, no one may ascend up to heaven. We can also see that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will establish His kingdom on earth and guide us humans in our life on earth, as though we are living in heaven. Let’s think back for a moment to when God created Adam and Eve at the very beginning. At that time, Adam and Eve had not yet been corrupted by Satan yet God still did not allow them to ascend to heaven, but instead set them to live on earth in the Garden of Eden. After God destroyed the world with flood, He saved Noah’s family of eight, but He did not raise them up into the air, but instead He practically made them to live on the earth. And then there was Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. God did not raise the Israelites up into the air to escape the murderous pursuit of the Egyptians, but instead led them step by step on earth out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan. Even when the Lord Jesus was performing His work, He Himself came to earth to speak His words and preach to man the way of repentance before finally being crucified to redeem all mankind. From these facts we can see that there is no ambiguity to God’s work; He does not raise people up into the air, but instead He always works on earth to guide us, and in the last days God will bring His kingdom down upon the earth. God works on earth and yet we’re always thinking of ascending up to heaven—does this accord with the Lord’s will?
As for what pre-tribulation rapture means, God’s words say: “‘Being caught up’ does not mean being taken from a low place to a high place, as people might imagine; that is a huge misconception. ‘Being caught up’ refers to My predestining and then selecting. It is directed at all those I have predestined and chosen. All those who are caught up are people who have gained the status of firstborn sons or sons, or who are God’s people. This is most incompatible with people’s notions. Those who will have a share in My house in the future are all ones who have been caught up before Me. This is absolutely true, never-changing, and irrefutable. It is a counterattack against Satan. Anyone I predestined shall be caught up before Me.” We can understand from this passage that pre-tribulation rapture does not mean being raised up into the air, as we imagine it to mean. Instead, it means that God, right at the beginning of all things, predestined a group of people, and that when God Himself appears and works in the last days, those He has predestined will hear His voice and recognize Him. These people will be able to accept and submit to God’s new work and follow His work closely, meaning that they are caught up before God’s throne, which is the true meaning of “being caught up.” When the Lord Jesus performed His work of redemption, for example, Peter, James, John and the others, heard the authority and power in the Lord Jesus’ words and recognized them to be the voice of God. They then knew that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah who would come, and they left the laws behind and accepted the Lord Jesus’ salvation, meaning they were caught up before God. Therefore, being caught up before the disasters in the last days means that, before the great disasters occur and when the Lord returns and speaks His words, we hear the words spoken by the Lord and follow the footsteps of God.
What Does It Mean to Be Made Into Overcomers Before the Disasters?
If we want to understand what it means to be made into overcomers before the disasters, first we should understand what we mean by “overcomers.” Most brothers and sisters believe that an overcomer is someone who works hard for the Lord, who keeps the Lord’s name, and who holds fast to their faith through all kinds of persecution and adversity; to them, this is what an overcomer is. In fact, what an overcomer is is not as simple as we imagine it to be, as it says in the Book of Revelation: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:4–5). God’s words say, “Those whom God refers to as ‘overcomers’ are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an ‘overcomer.’” “Those who are made complete before the disaster are submissive to God. They live reliant on Christ, they bear witness to Him, and they exalt Him. They are the victorious male children and good soldiers of Christ.”
We can see from these words that the overcomers are those who follow closely in the footsteps of the Lamb and who bear staunch and resounding testimony to God after undergoing trials and refinement. They are no longer shackled by their sinful nature, all their various corrupt dispositions have been cleansed away, and they have true knowledge of God. No matter what kind of persecution or adversity these people go through, and no matter what trials or refinement they find themselves in, they live always by God’s words, they fulfill the duty of a created being well, and they are able to submit to God and testify to God. These are the overcomers who have passed through the great tribulation. That is to say, an overcomer is not someone who, once beginning to believe in the Lord, is able to suffer and pay a price, keep the Lord’s name, and stand fast in faith amid persecution and adversity. An overcomer is someone whose sins have been cleansed away, who fears God and submits to God at all times, who has rid themselves of the shackles of Satan’s influence once and for all, and who can never again sin or resist God. But how much of our own sins have been cleansed away? And how much do we practically show our obedience to God? In truth, when we accept the Lord Jesus’ salvation, our sins are forgiven, but the Lord’s forgiveness does not extend to our sinful nature, that is, our satanic dispositions such as arrogance, conceitedness, selfishness, ignobility, crookedness, deceitfulness, wickedness and greed are still rooted deeply within us. When God bestows grace on us, we are filled with gratitude toward Him, but when God arranges situations that are not to our liking, we frequently blame God and rebel against Him. We give things up and expend ourselves and we suffer and pay a price, but we do not do these things out of love for God or to satisfy God. Instead, we wish to use these things as capital, so that when the Lord comes we can show Him how much merit we’ve accrued and exchange it with the Lord for the blessings of heaven. When we obtain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and become able to do a little work and preach a few sermons, we usurp the glory of God, secretly we think highly of ourselves, and we often brag and show off to others about the work we do and the sermons we give, bringing others before us. When matters begin to infringe upon our own interests, we can become deceitful and incapable of being honest. These are just a few examples of how our corrupt dispositions can manifest. We can see from our behaviors that we are still under the control of our sinful nature and frequently rebel against and defy God. We have no obedience or loyalty to God whatsoever, and all we pursue is our own profit. Can such slaves to sin as us become overcomers?
Since our behaviors mean that we cannot attain to becoming overcomers, how then can we be made into overcomers by God before the disasters arrive? To know the answer to this question, we must first understand the work the Lord does when He comes in the last days. The Bible says, “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son … And has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” (John 5:22–27). “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:17). We can see from these verses that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will express the truth and perform the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. That is, He will judge those who have been caught up before God so that their corrupt dispositions may be cleansed, they can live entirely by God’s words, and become fit to inherit God’s promise and enter into God’s kingdom. What’s more, these prophecies have long since been fulfilled and the Lord has already returned as the incarnated Almighty God. Almighty God has expressed all aspects of the truth enabling people to attain salvation and, on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, He performs a stage of work to judge, purify, and save mankind, thereby enabling us to rid ourselves of our sinful nature, truly submit to God, and be made into overcomers before the disasters. Let’s now read a passage of Almighty God’s words so we can see how Almighty God performs the work of judgment to perfect man. God says, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.” “I have previously said that a group of overcomers are gained from the East, overcomers who come from amid the great tribulation. What is meant by these words? They mean that these people who have been gained only truly obeyed after undergoing judgment and chastisement, and dealing and pruning, and all kinds of refinement. The belief of these people is not vague and abstract, but real. They have not seen any signs and wonders, or any miracles; they do not speak of abstruse letters and doctrines, or profound insights; instead they have reality, and the words of God, and a true knowledge of the reality of God.”
This tells us that Almighty God perfects the overcomers primarily through the work of judging and chastising with words. God uses His words to expose and judge our various satanic nature which leads us to sin and resist God, and through our speech and actions and the thoughts and ideas we reveal, He dissects the ugliness of our essence corrupted by Satan. He also dissects our various states which cause us to live under the influence of darkness, to betray God, and which make us unable to practice the truth; God’s words entirely reveal to us God’s righteous and majestic disposition which tolerates no offense. Besides the judgment and chastisement of words, God also arranges all manner of situations to try and refine us, and to prune and deal with our corrupt dispositions. By undergoing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and after we have been exposed, pruned and dealt with in various situations, we come to have true knowledge of our corrupt dispositions and we see the ugliness of our corruption at Satan’s hands. We see that all we live out are the corrupt dispositions of arrogance, self-righteousness, wanton behavior, selfishness, ignobility, crookedness, deceitfulness, and being sick of the truth. We see that we have not a bit of a God-fearing heart and no semblance of a true human being, and we come to realize that, although we believe in God, we are still shackled and constrained by all manner of dark influences, such as the dark influence of being persecuted by the great red dragon, the dark influence of being obstructed by antichrists in the religious world, and the dark influence of such things as satanic philosophies for living and satanic axioms. When the facts are revealed to us, we come to have a profound appreciation for the fact that, if our dispositions do not change, we will be in constant danger of betraying God. We also come to see that if we want our corrupt dispositions to change, then we need to accept more judgment and chastisement so that we may be purified and changed. Only in this way will we be able to have true knowledge of God’s righteous and good essence and come to truly hate our own sinful nature, thereby generating within us true reverence and a heart of love for God, and we will become willing to forsake our flesh and practice the truth. By experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement over a long period, when we encounter various trials and tribulations and the temptations of Satan, we gradually become able to stand firm in our testimony to God, to truly submit to and love God, and to become the first fruits made complete by God—the overcomers. Almighty God has been working now for over 20 years and has already gained a group of overcomers before the disasters. In the atheistic, totalitarian nation where the CCP holds sway, they believe in God and are subjected to the cruel oppression and to being arrested by the Chinese government, as well as to the condemnation and calumny of the religious world. And yet they still believe in God and pursue the truth, they experience God’s words with true faith, they pursue a change in their dispositions and fulfill their duties well, theirgrowing ever greater. There are even some brothers and sisters who, regardless of how the great red dragon might cruelly torture them, are still able to overcome the control of death, vowing never to betray God or become a Judas. They ask only to satisfy God and to remain loyal to God; they follow God to the very end, they do not betray God, and ultimately they bear staunch and resounding testimony to God. Such an outcome is achieved only by experiencing Almighty God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days. All the experiences and testimonies of these overcomers are now publicly available online, bearing to the whole world testimony to the deeds of Almighty God, thereby fulfilling the prophecy in the Book of Revelation, chapter 7 verse 14: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This shows us that if we want to be caught up before the disasters in the last days and become overcomers before the disasters arrive, then we must experience Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days. If we do not do this, we will forever live in sin, we will constantly resist and rebel against God in spite of ourselves, we will blame God when trials and adversity befall us, and in the end we will most certainly be detested and eliminated by God, and will be swept up in the disasters and punished.
The kingdom gospel of Almighty God has now spread to all corners of the Chinese mainland and churches to Almighty God have been established in many other countries. Those who hear the utterances of Almighty God and recognize Almighty God to be the Lord Jesus returned are the wise virgins who are caught up before God. They are those who are now experiencing God’s work of judgment in the last days and who will be purified and perfected by God into overcomers. Disasters are now growing larger and larger in scale, so do we also wish to be caught up before the throne and made by God into overcomers before the disasters arrive? Then let’s investigate Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days with an open heart, for only by doing so will we not miss out on welcoming the Lord’s return, lose our chance to be perfected by God into overcomers, and be swept away by the disasters.
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In recent years, disasters around the world are growing larger and larger in scale. The Philippines is hit by one disaster after another. As the pandemic is still spreading, here come famines, and in some places, people do not have food. Facing the frequent disasters, are you reflecting on the following: Now is the end of the last days, and the signs of the Lord’s return have appeared. Accordingly, the Lord should have returned. So, how can I welcome the Lord’s return and avoid falling into disasters?