By Xile, Japan
Fantasies of Being Raptured Into the Air to Meet With God
In 2014, a sister preached the’ gospel to me. After I started believing in God, I enthusiastically went to meetings, and at one my pastor said, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘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). And Paul also 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’ (1 Thessalonians 4:17). The Lord has prepared a place for us, and when the Lord returns, we will directly be raptured into the air to meet the Lord, after which we will be with the Lord forever. The kingdom of heaven’s walls are made of jasper, the streets are paved with gold, and there are all the jewels, agate, and jade we could want. There is no pain or torment there, no tears or misery, and there are endless blessings to enjoy….” When I heard the enthusiasm in my pastor’s sermon, I thought it would be wonderful if one day I could also be raptured up to heaven by God.
But, in the midst of my excitement, I thought, “If the Lord will rapture us up into the air when He comes to meet with Him, just how can we be raptured?” I asked this question of several sisters in my Bible study group who have believed in the Lord for a long time. One said, “The Lord is omnipotent. When the Lord comes to receive us, we will float up into the air.” I felt much more reassured when I heard my sister say that. That’s right, the Lord is omnipotent, so of course the Lord can rapture us up to heaven. After that, I went to meetings and spread the gospel with even more enthusiasm, and looked forward to the day the Lord would receive us.
Some time after that, I discovered that although I believed in the Lord, I couldn’t keep the Lord’s teachings. I often got angry and fought with my family over small matters. After the fights I would think, “I am a Christian, I should learn to be tolerant and patient,” but afterward I would be unable to control myself again, and I felt miserable. I often cried and prayed to the Lord, “Lord, living in this world is such torment. Please come and receive us into our home in heaven.” Afterward, each time I walked down the street, I would often look up at the white clouds in the sky, hoping for the Lord Jesus to receive us into our home in heaven.
Shocking Good News
One day, as I was cleaning my house, my older sister called and made an appointment with me to go to another sister’s house to hear a sermon, to which I happily agreed and went. After we met, Brother Wang fellowshiped with us about the work of Jehovah in the Age of Law and the work of the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace, what theare and what the foolish virgins are, how wise virgins store up oil to welcome the Lord, and much more. In the past, our church’s pastor had never interpreted in such detail for us, and to seek answers with the pastor about questions we didn’t understand, we had to spend at least 3,000 yen to make an appointment. The result was that after believing for nearly two years, I still didn’t understand much about the Bible, but after hearing my brother’s fellowship, I felt suddenly enlightened about the Bible, and my heart felt much brighter. After that, I also asked Brother Wang about John’s visions in Revelation, what the little scroll represents, and many more things, and he explained each of them one by one. I listened entranced, and the morning passed quickly.
After that, Brother Wang fellowshiped with us about the significance of. He said the names Jehovah and Jesus, as well as His prophesied new name in Revelation, the Almighty, all had a special significance, and then we watched a music video, “God Has Brought His Glory to the East.” As I listened to the lyrics, I felt that these words truly had authority and were the voice of God. After that, Brother Wang told us, “Brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus has actually already returned. His name is Almighty God, and everything I’ve told you today was personally revealed by God Himself.”
God’s Kingdom Is on Earth
The news that the Lord has already returned made me very excited. I couldn’t help but ask, “Brother Wang, has the Lord Jesus really already returned? I often look up at the sky. Why didn’t I see Him coming? The Lord prophesied that, ‘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). And Paul also 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’ (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Our pastor also often says the Lord has prepared a place for us in heaven, and when He returns, He will directly rapture us up to heaven to meet with the Lord. You say the Lord has already returned, but why haven’t we been raptured up to heaven?”
Brother Wang said seriously, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘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). The Lord Jesus only prophesied that He would come to receive us in the place He prepared for us, but He didn’t say that place was in heaven. If we read the Bible, we’ll understand. Let’s read Revelation 11:15 together, ‘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; and He shall reign for ever and ever.’ And Revelation 21:3–4, ‘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.’ From the prophecies in Revelation, we can see that the New Jerusalem is on earth, that the tabernacle of God is with men, that God will dwell with men, and that the kingdoms of the world are to become the kingdoms of Christ. God will rule on earth as king, lead His people, and on earth there will be no more death, crying, or pain. This shows us that the place God has prepared for us is on earth, not in heaven.” I read these verses carefully, and they did indeed say that God’s kingdom is on earth. Why had I never discovered this mystery before?
Brother Wang continued, “We all know that, in the beginning, God created Adam and Eve out of dust, and then placed them on the earth to watch over all things on the earth. Previous generations of mankind have all lived on earth, and moreover, God’s work to save mankind was carried out on earth. In the Age of Law, the law proclaimed by God was carried out on earth, and in the Age of Grace the Lord Jesus came incarnate in the flesh to work on earth, where He was crucified to redeem mankind. In, God has again come to earth to express His words and do the work of judgment. From the beginning to the end, all of God’s work to save mankind has been carried out on earth. If God’s will was that we go up to live in heaven, why would He pay such a heavy price in blood to carry out His management work to save mankind on earth? The Lord Jesus also said, ‘And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even which is in heaven’ (John 3:13). The Lord’s words state clearly that no man has ascended up to heaven, so why do we all want to go there? Some people might answer that these are Paul’s words, but can Paul’s words represent the Lord’s words? The Lord Jesus never said He would rapture us up to heaven, nor did the other apostles and prophets, so how could Paul know that when the Lord comes, He will rapture us up into the clouds to meet with the Lord? Wasn’t that just his own imagination?”
After I heard my brother’s fellowship, I was very moved. That’s right, I thought, the Lord Jesus never said He would rapture us up to heaven, nor did the other apostles. Only Paul said that. But does that represent the Lord’s will? Revelation clearly prophesies that “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ,” “the tabernacle of God is with men,” and that ultimately God and His people will dwell with Him on the earth. This is actually God’s will.
The True Meaning of Rapture
Brother Wang continued, “God is a practical God, and His work has always been practical. If true rapture isn’t being lifted up into the air, then what is rapture? Almighty God says, ‘“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.’ From God’s words, we can see that ‘rapture’ isn’t being taken from a low place to a high place. It isn’t going from earth to heaven. It refers to God bringing the people He has predestined and selected before Him. These people are the wise virgins spoken of in the Bible. They are able to recognize God’s voice, join the wedding feast of the Lamb, be lifted up before God’s throne, and receive. To put it another way, to be raptured is to be taken by God from the old age into the new, to be lifted up from the desolation of losing to before God’s throne, and to be irrigated by the spring of God’s living water, just as those who lived late in the Age of Law moved on from it and accepted the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. This is what it means to be raptured up into God’s presence. Today, we are able to move on from the Age of Grace, accept God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, and receive God’s salvation that appears in the last days, and this is what it means for us to be raptured.
Hearing this was a sudden awakening for me. Rapture, it turns out, means being brought into God’s presence and accepting God’s work of salvation.
Brother Wang said, “In the past, our imaginations led many of us to think that when the Lord returns in the last days, we would be directly raptured into the air, where we would meet with the Lord. But, have you considered whether the Lord will really rapture people full of filth like us into the kingdom of heaven? The Bible says, ‘holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). ‘you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). God is holy, and the filthy aren’t allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven. Think about the fact that, although we’ve accepted the redemption of the Lord Jesus and our sins have been forgiven, our sinful natures have not been expelled. As ever, we live in a state of sinning and confessing. We are still not qualified to enter God’s kingdom. If we wish to enter God’s kingdom, we still need to undergo the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, purify our corrupt dispositions, be completely obedient to God, and be compatible with Christ. Only then can we be with God forever. Christ of the last days, Almighty God, has come incarnate on earth and expressed many aspects of the truth to do the work of judgment and purification. His judgment exposes our sinful natures and purifies the satanic corrupt dispositions within us such as arrogance, selfishness, and deceit that make us enemies of God. Those who undergo God’s judgment and purification are the ones who will be brought into God’s kingdom when the incarnate God’s work to save mankind concludes, and will praise God forever on the earth. This fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecy, ‘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). Meanwhile, while the incarnate God does His work, those who rebel against and resist God, who do not undergo God’s judgment and attain purification, and who lose God’s salvation in the last days, when God openly reveals Himself, will be completely destroyed in the great disaster of the last days, never to live again. Those who attain God’s full salvation will fulfill their roles in God’s kingdom, live in peace and safety, and never again suffer war, death, or pain, and God will conclude His 6,000-year management plan and enter into rest.”
I was stunned when I heard this. What the Lord originally meant when He said He would receive us so that we could be with Him is that God would personally come incarnate to earth to save us, ultimately purify us, and bring us into the kingdom He prepared for us. This was genuinely a mystery. I thought of how, in the past, we had all looked forward to the Lord coming to rapture us up into the kingdom of heaven, but we never considered whether people like us, who live in sin, in a state of sinning and repenting, who can’t even achieve tolerance, patience, or not lying, and who resist and rebel against the Lord, are actually qualified to enter God’s kingdom. It seemed that all I believed about being raptured up into the air and meeting with the Lord was based on my own notions and imagination!
I excitedly said to Brother Wang, “Your fellowship over the last two days has helped me understand more than I learned in two years of believing in the Lord. Over the last two years, even though I’ve busied myself with spreading the gospel, and on the outside I appear very pious, I haven’t understood the true significance of God’s words, and didn’t know the location of the place the Lord said He had prepared for us. Now I understand the true meaning of rapture, I understand that the place the Lord prepared for us is on earth, and I know that only those who undergo God’s judgment and chastisement and are purified can enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord’s work is very practical.”
My sister said excitedly, “That’s right, I’ve been in the church for more than a decade and haven’t understood as much as I have in the last few days. We’ve always thought, based on our imaginations, that when the Lord returns in the last days, He would directly rapture us up to heaven. But that idea was always based on our vague imaginings, and doesn’t accord with the Lord’s will.”
Brother Wang said happily, “Thanks be to God. God’s work is the practical expression of the truth to save people, so that we can see and reach it, which allows us to practically attain God’s salvation. If God hadn’t personally come incarnate and revealed these mysteries, none of us could have understood them!”
Together with Brother Wang, we read many more passages of Almighty God’s words, fellowshiped on how God judges, purifies, and changes mankind in the last days, and discussed how the Lord has returned and worked for more than 20 years already, that God’s work of judging and purifying mankind is nearing its end, and how the gospel of God’s kingdom has spread from east to west. As we read God’s words, I saw that God has opened up all aspects of the truth and His mysteries to us. It was truly an honor for me to have the fortune to be raptured into God’s presence before the great disaster. I couldn’t help but cry passionate tears, and I swore an oath to pursue being purified by God.
Brother Wang gave us each a copy of the book of God’s words The Scroll Opened by the Lamb, and to me it was like receiving a treasure. I couldn’t stop thanking God. From then onward, every day I readas if I thirsted for it, and through reading God’s word and watching The Church of Almighty God’s videos, I became completely certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, and I began experiencing the judgment and purification of God’s words in The Church of Almighty God. Thank God. All the glory be to Almighty God.
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