Many of us are yearning for the Lord to return to instantly change our form and bring us into the kingdom of heaven. Are the facts really like this? Has God said that He will change our form and bring us into the kingdom of heaven when He returns? If we study the Bible, we’ll find that God didn’t say that, but He said, “Be you holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). “Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). God requires us to be holy and to do His will, and only thus will we enter into the kingdom of heaven. However, we still frequently tell lies and commit sins. How can we be qualified to be raptured up into the heavenly kingdom? Would God’s words not contradict our idea that “we’ll instantaneously change form and be raptured into the heavenly kingdom”? How can we be raptured into the kingdom of heaven?
When Will the Rapture Happen? What Does It Say in God’s Words?
By Jianmo, U.S.
Today, catastrophes around the world are becoming ever-more severe. The news is filled with stories of plagues, earthquakes, floods, and droughts. Have you ever thought to yourself: The prophecies of the Lord’s return have been fulfilled, so why have we still not welcomed the Lord? If this carries on, when the great tribulation arrives, will we, too, not be plunged into disaster? Just when will the Lord take us up into the heavenly kingdom?
When We Are Raptured, Will We Really Be Raised Into the Sky?
Many believers in the Lord have read these words in the Bible: “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). They long to be raised into the sky and meet the Lord when He comes. But in fact, these words weren’t actually spoken by the Lord Jesus, nor are they a prophecy of the Book of Revelation. They are but the words of the apostle Paul. Is it correct to rely on the words of Paul in the matter of welcoming the Lord’s coming? Can the words of Paul represent that of the Lord? How the Lord of the last days arrives, and how He takes those who believe in Him into the kingdom is the work of God Himself. Paul was merely an apostle who spread the message for the Lord; how could he know such things? Welcoming the arrival of the Lord is an enormously important matter, one in which it is only correct for us to rely on the words of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus said, “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6: 9–10). The Book of Revelation also contains the following prophecies: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 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 21:2–3). “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). In these prophecies, the words “coming down from God out of heaven,” “the tabernacle of God is with men,” and “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ,” show that God will establish His kingdom on earth, and that the destination He has arranged for man is also on earth. Is our constant wish to be raised into heaven not of our own notions and imaginings? And is this not walking a divergent path from God?
The reality is that God has never spoken of raising people up into the sky, and this is something we can recognize from the facts of God’s work. In the beginning, God made man from dust and placed him in the Garden of Eden, where he lived and worshipped God properly. During the time of Noah, God did not raise Noah and his family into the sky to escape the floods, either; instead, He ordered Noah to take the practical action of building an ark on earth. Late in the Age of Law, people faced the danger of being put to death for violating God’s laws. God did not raise them up into the air to obtain sin offerings, but instead personally became flesh and came to earth, where He was actually crucified for mankind, delivering humanity from sin. From this we can see that God has continually worked on earth for man’s salvation, guiding mankind in living and worshipping God. Our constant longing to be taken up into the sky is clearly at odds with the will of God!
What Is Rapture Before the Great Tribulation?
Some of you may be unclear about what “being raptured” actually refers to. To understand this, let us first see what the words of God say. God said, “‘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. Those who have gained the status of firstborn son, the status of sons, or people, are all those who have been caught up. 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” (“Chapter 104” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). These words tell us that being raptured is not being taken into the sky to meet the Lord as we imagined; instead, it means being able to accept and obey the new work of God after hearing His voice, closely following the footsteps of the Lamb, and coming before God when He comes to earth and performs work. Only this is true rapture. It’s just as when the Lord Jesus came to do the work of redemption: Peter, the Samaritan woman, James and others recognized the voice of the Lord when they heard His words and determined that He was the Messiah who was to come. As a result, they received the Lord’s salvation and were all raised up before the Lord during the Age of Grace. All who in the last days welcome the return of the Lord and accept God’s current work are those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb, and who are raised up before the Lord!
How to Be Raptured Before the Great Tribulation
So just what should we do to welcome the Lord and be raptured before the disaster? This was prophesied long ago in the Bible, when the Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16: 12-13). Chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation prophesy multiple times: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” There’s also Chapter 3, Verse 20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” God’s words say, “[S]ince we are searching for the footprints of God, it behooves us to search for God’s will, for the words of God, for His utterances—because wherever there are new words spoken by God, the voice of God is there, and wherever there are the footsteps of God, God’s deeds are there. Wherever there is the expression of God, there God appears, and wherever God appears, there the truth, the way, and the life exist” (“The Appearance of God Has Ushered in a New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words tell us that if we wish to welcome the Lord, seeking out the work and words of God is key. Nothing is more important than looking for where the Holy Spirit’s utterances to the churches are today, and where the appearance and work of God are today. If we do not take it upon ourselves to search for God’s footprints, if we do not place importance upon hearing the voice of God, but instead passively gaze at the clouds in the sky, idly waiting for the Lord to come and take us into the air, are such thoughts not fanciful? And then would we not be forever incapable of welcoming the Lord, ultimately squandering the chance to be raptured by Him?
So where are the footsteps of the Lord? And where does God utter His words? Today, only The Church of Almighty God openly bears witness to mankind that the Lord has already returned: that is, God incarnate of the last days, Almighty God. Almighty God has expressed millions of words, revealed a number of truths and mysteries, as well as opened up for us God’s six-thousand-year management plan, the mystery of the incarnation, and the mysteries of the Bible. So, too, has He expressed words to judge and expose mankind, and revealed the true facts of our corruption at the hands of Satan and our various satanic dispositions. By accepting God’s words of judgment and chastisement, we come to know our own corruption, and see that everything we reveal is the satanic dispositions of arrogance, selfishness, ignobility, treacherousness, and craftiness, and that we are devoid of conscience and reason. We have been utterly convinced by God’s words, we prostrate ourselves before God, overcome with regret, and we have some knowledge of God’s righteous and holy disposition; there is born within us a heart of reverence and obedience toward God, and we confirm from within our hearts that all which is expressed by Almighty God is the truth, and able to cleanse and transform people.
Today, the words of Almighty God are spreading among mankind. Many from a variety of Christian denominations who are true believers and genuinely love the truth have heard the voice of God, been awakened by God’s words, and returned before His throne. They bask in the watering and sustenance of His words, and sense just how authoritative and mighty these words are, they have determined that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. They are those who are raptured before the great tribulation! Let us read a passage of the words of Almighty God: “My voice shall spread throughout the earth; I wish, facing My chosen people, to speak more words to them. Like the mighty thunders that shake the mountains and rivers, I speak My words to the whole universe and to mankind. Hence the words in My mouth have become man’s treasure, and all men cherish My words. The lightning flashes from the East all the way to the West. My words are such that man is loath to give them up and at the same time finds them unfathomable, but rejoices in them all the more. Like a newborn infant, all men are glad and joyful, celebrating My coming. By means of My voice, I shall bring all men before Me. Thenceforth, I shall formally enter into the race of men so that they will come to worship Me. With the glory that I radiate and the words in My mouth, I shall make it such that all men come before Me and see that the lightning flashes from the East and that I have also descended unto the ‘Mount of Olives’ of the East. They will see that I have already long been on earth, no longer as the Son of the Jews but as the Lightning of the East. For I have long since been resurrected, and have departed from mankind’s midst, and then reappeared with glory among men. I am He who was worshiped countless ages before now, and I am also the infant forsaken by the Israelites countless ages before now. Moreover, I am the all-glorious Almighty God of the present age! Let all come before My throne and see My glorious countenance, hear My voice, and look upon My deeds. This is the entirety of My will; it is the end and the climax of My plan, as well as the purpose of My management. Let every nation worship Me, every tongue acknowledge Me, every man repose his faith in Me, and every people be subject unto Me!” (“The Seven Thunders Peal—Prophesying That the Gospel of the Kingdom Shall Spread Throughout the Universe” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
What do you feel after reading this passage of God’s words? Isn’t there excitement within your heart? Do you feel that they are the Creator speaking to the whole of mankind? Do you feel that God is now testifying to us that He has already returned? Whatever you may feel, we have an urgent task before us: We must be the wise virgins, listen to the words spoken by Almighty God, and seek His work of the last days with an open mind. There is no other path to being raptured before the great tribulation!
Editor’s Note: In a time such as this when the world is beset by catastrophe, many long to welcome the return of the Lord, to be raptured before the tribulation to feast with the Lord and to receive His care and protection. Hasn’t reading this text shown you the path to being raptured before the tribulation? I hope you will share this text with other brothers and sisters as well so that more people can soon be raptured and welcome the Lord. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time if you have any questions, and we’ll get back to you just as soon as we can.