Can "We Shall Meet the Lord in the Air" Be Accomplished?
Peace to you in the Lord! Several months have flown by. How are you recently? I remember when we studied the Bible together, we often read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, which says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead inshall rise first: 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.” Whenever we saw these words, we were very excited and could not help but feel sweet. We would even grin from ear to ear in our dreams. We believed that upon the Lord’s return, we who are alive should be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. What a glorious scene that would be! However, after I came to Japan, through my fellowship with the brothers and sisters here, I understand: These verses are Paul’s words, not the ’ words. Paul’s word isn’t the truth; even more so, it cannot take the place of the truth. Only the Lord Jesus’ word is the truth. We should believe in the Lord according to His word, and cannot take man’s word as the goal of our pursuit. “Being caught up” mentioned in these words isn’t what we think. In the past, we all thought the “being caught up” in scripture meant that the Lord’s return would bring all those who held onto the Lord’s name into the air and then they would live in heaven. Actually, our thinking is wrong. The reason why we think that way is because we don’t understand the true meaning of these verses. Regarding this issue, brothers and sisters have communicated with me about the truth of this aspect, so that I understand what true rapture is. Now I’ll share my experience with you.
Sister Liu fellowshiped with me, “There are verses which can solve this confusion. Genesis 2:7-8 says, ‘And Jehovah 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 Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.’ From this, we can see that our forefather lived in the Garden of Eden which was on earth, not in heaven. In the beginning, God made mankind with the dust on earth, allowed us to live on earth and manage the rest of His creations, asked us to obey, worship and glorify Him, and ordained that our destination is on earth rather than in heaven. Also, in Matthew 6:10, the Lord’sthat the Lord Jesus taught us says, ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.’ From this verse, we can see that when God’s kingdom comes, we will carry out His will on earth. Besides, His will may be done on earth just as it is in heaven. This proves that the ones left alive after God’s work of the last days finishes, still live on earth, not in heaven. It can be seen that God will establish His kingdom on earth and the kingdoms of this world must become the kingdom of our Christ. After God’s work on earth comes to an end, He will lead man from heaven and man will still live on earth. So God’s kingdom will finally be realized on earth. If we maintain that “being caught up” refers to being taken up to heaven, then won’t these prophecies be in vain? God’s kingdom is on earth; if we still pursue to be raptured into heaven, aren’t we going against His will? In reality, God does His work of saving mankind on earth from beginning to end, and we humans also live on earth. God shall carry out His will on earth, not in heaven. In the end, man’s destination is on earth and it was preordained before the ages. No one can break it, and this is a heavenly law.
“A passage of word says, ‘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, devoid of Satan’s corruption, and no more unrighteousness will occur. Under God’s care, humans will live normally upon earth. When God and humanity enter into rest together, it means that humanity has been saved and that Satan has been destroyed, that God’s work in humans is entirely complete. God will no longer continue to work in humans, and they will no longer live under Satan’s domain. As such, God will no longer be busy, and humans will no longer be constantly on the move; God and humanity will enter into rest simultaneously. God will return to His original place, and each person will return to their respective place. These are the destinations in which God and humans will reside once God’s entire management is finished. God has God’s destination, and humanity has humanity’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all humans in their lives upon earth, and while in His light, they will worship the one true God in heaven. … When humans enter into rest, it means that they have become true objects of creation; they will worship God from upon the earth, and live normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist Him, and will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These will be the respective lives and destinations of God and humans after they enter into rest. Satan’s defeat is an inevitable trend in the war between it and God. As such, God’s entering into rest after the completion of His management work and humanity’s complete salvation and entrance into rest have likewise become inevitable trends. Humanity’s place of rest is on earth, and God’s place of rest is in heaven. While humans worship God in rest, they will live upon the earth, and while God leads the rest of humanity in rest. … After God and humanity enter into rest, Satan will no longer exist; likewise, those wicked people will also cease to exist. Before God and humanity rest, those wicked individuals who once persecuted God on earth, as well as the enemies who were disobedient to Him there, will already have been destroyed; they will have been eradicated by the great disasters of the last days. Once those wicked people have been utterly annihilated, earth will never again know Satan’s harassment. Only then will humanity obtain complete salvation, and God’s work be thoroughly finished. These are the prerequisites for God and humanity to enter into rest.’ God’s word has clearly told us that when God’s management work is completed, those wicked people who once persecuted Him and the enemies who were disobedient to Him will have already been destroyed by the great disasters of the last days. Afterward, God and man will enter into rest at the same time. God’s place of rest is in heaven while man’s is on earth just as it is now. That is, man will enjoy a life of heaven on earth. This life is what God prepares for man, and moreover, this is what God will accomplish. We should now understand that we humans lived on earth in the beginning, that God also carries out the work of saving mankind on earth, and that in the end, while man rests, he will still live on earth. Knowing this, will we still pursue to be raptured into heaven? Isn’t this our extravagant desire? Is it in line with the truth? In fact, many verses mention ‘being caught up.’ Let’s look at Acts 8:39-40, ‘And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.’ According to our human ideas, Philip was caught up by the Lord, that is, he was raptured into heaven. But the fact is that ‘Philip was found at Azotus’ (Acts 8:40), and that he continued to preach theof the Lord in all the cities and did the Lord’s will on earth. It’s easy to see that Philip was not raptured into heaven but still lived on earth. The prophecy of Revelation mentions ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever’ (Revelation 11:15). These prophecies are sufficient to prove that when we are truly saved, we will still live on earth, rather than in heaven. We won’t be lifted up into heaven as we think. So rapture doesn’t mean that we will be raptured into the air as we’ve imagined. It only comes out of our imagination, which doesn’t hold water.”
The more I listened to her fellowship, the clearer I was. Only then did I realize that what I thought before was absurd, childish and ridiculous. I thought: “A man can’t even climb up a house without a ladder, let alone ascend to heaven. We humans are mortal beings; how can we ascend to heaven? If it were that way, then wouldn’t all necessities God prepared for man on earth be for naught? 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” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). So I formed the imagination of “being raptured into heaven,” thinking God’s return would bring us up to heaven. How absurd my idea of rapture is!” Just then, I felt rapture was not as simple as we might suppose. There has to be truth that we must seek.
A few days later, I sought fellowship with Sister Liu. I said, “Since rapture doesn’t mean that we will be raptured into the air to go meet the Lord as we’ve imagined but actually means that we will still live on earth after being saved by God, then what does it refer to?” She patiently communicated with me, “Concerning the rapture, all believers in the Lord always strive for and aspire to it. In fact, the true rapture refers to us following the Lamb’s footsteps, coming before God and accepting His higher and newer work. As for the mystery of the rapture, let’s read a passage of words and we will know the answer. ‘“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. … 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.’ From these words we know the true meaning of rapture. Rapture doesn’t mean that our flesh will be raptured into heaven to meet God as we imagine, but means that we recognize God’s voice, come before Him, obey His work and accept the words expressed by Him. This is the true meaning of rapture.
From the words the sister read and her fellowship, I understood what rapture truly is. I also realized that my relying on my thinking and imagination, and understanding of the literal meaning of the Bible to interpret what rapture is is really absurd. I hope what I have gained can also help you. If you have a different understanding or any confusion, please don’t hesitate to write to me, we can discuss and fellowship together.
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