By Shang Jin
A gospel website has ingeniously launched several chat sections recently, including “A Brief Talk: Is the Kingdom in Heaven or on Earth?”; “Participation: Have You Been Raptured?”; “A Question: Have You Followed God’s Will?” etc. In the end, Shang Jin determined the section—A Brief Talk. She was interested in this topic. Because, during over a decade of her believing in the Lord, each of the spiritual elders she met told her, “Shang Jin, you must pursue the Lord. In the future He will bring us back to the heavenly home, and we will live in heaven. It is a place where there are grounds paved with gold and walls of jasper, and where we can stay away from mortal coil.” Over ten years ago, after the first time she had heard them speak in this way, she harbored all kinds of wonderful illusions about the beautiful kingdom of heaven and yearned for the day to come when the Lord would take her up into the kingdom of heaven: What will happen that day? How will I go to Heaven? What’s so beautiful about the kingdom of heaven?
She had been full of fantasies about and hope for the heavenly kingdom all the time. Naturally she would feel surprised when suddenly seeing some people discussing the topic “Is the kingdom in heaven or on earth?” So she clicked the related link.
In the forum, a man named Chen Zheng said, “Thank God for preparing such a chance for us to communicate together. With regard to whether the heavenly kingdom is in the sky or on earth, we do need to fellowship. It truly is the major issues for which we believers in the Lord care. Then, is theactually on the earth or in heaven? Let’s first take a look at what it says in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘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).”
Chen Zheng gave everyone room to consider. With her eyes glued to these words of God, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” Shang Jin thought: Is the kingdom of heaven not in heaven? Why did thesay that God’s will shall be done in earth?
Chen Zheng continued: “Aren’t the words of the Lord Jesus very clear? He required us to pray that God’s kingdom come to earth and God’s will be done on earth. However, He didn’t say God’s kingdom would be built in heaven, and moreover He did not let us hope and pray for being raptured into the heaven someday. Let’s think about it. Is this not the case?”
Following Chen Zheng’s guidance, Shang Jin flipped throughon the table and read the words of the Lord Jesus again. Then, her heart started to doubt. She thought: Ah, this really is how things are! I’ve read the Bible for so many years, but I’ve really not seen the Lord Jesus say these words like “God’s kingdom is in heaven.” Nevertheless, He 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). Don’t these words mean that we will certainly be taken to the heaven and live with the Lord when He returns? How can this be explained?
Just as she was puzzled, Chen Zheng continued sending messages: “Some people might say, ‘The Lord Jesus had said that He would go to prepare a place for us before He left.’ Therefore, they think this place is in the sky. In fact, it is true that the Lord is preparing a place for His believers, but is it actually upon the earth or in heaven? We all think according to our own conceptions and illusions that the heavenly kingdom is in heaven, but is the fact really like this? Let’s continue to take a look at the prophecies in Revelation. Chapter 11, verse 15 states: ‘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 Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever,’ and chapter 21, verses 2 to 4 state, ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. 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.’ Please read them closely. These two passages of prophecies mention respectively ‘the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ,’ ‘the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,’ and ‘the tabernacle of God is with men.’ These words have clearly told us that God’s kingdom is on the earth, not in heaven, that He will build His kingdom on earth and dwell on earth alongside mankind, and that the kingdoms of the world will be made into Christ’s kingdoms, which will last forever. If we rely on our conceptions and imaginations to believe that God’s kingdom is in heaven, and that the Lord will raise us into heaven when returning, won’t His previous words be in vain? In truth, the final result of God’s management plan for the salvation of mankind is to establish His kingdom on earth. For example, in the beginning, God created Adam and Eve on earth; Satan has been corrupting mankind also on earth; additionally, in order to redeem us, God incarnate came to earth and was crucified for us. It’s the same. The place God has prepared for our final destination is also upon the earth, and He will eventually establish His kingdom on earth. This is how the prophecies in Revelation will be accomplished in the future.
What place has the Lord Jesus prepared for us? Actually, He ordained that we would be born in the last days, welcome His return on earth and carry out His will so that all kingdoms on earth will become Christ’s kingdoms. That is God’s will. God comes to earth but we humans try to go up to heaven. If raised up into the air, how will we survive with no food or place to live there? Isn’t that all just our conceptions and imaginings? Will the Lord do such a thing?”
After hearing Chen Zheng’s communication, she felt very ashamed: I’ve believed in the Lord for over ten years, and yet I even have no idea whether God’s kingdom is in heaven or on earth. She started to deny her own conceptions silently in her heart.
Then, other brothers and sisters began to discuss.
Xiaoqi said, “It turns out that the kingdom of God is really on earth. The prophecies of the Book of Revelation are so clear but we’ve never found it. How blind we are!”
Qianhe said: “How mystical the prophecies in the Bible are! Nobody had such a fellowship before, nor did we ponder them. How could we figure them out?
Shang Jin sighed with emotion, “This is all our fault. We placed no importance on the Lord’s words; instead we just blindly believed the words of the pastors and elders. Therefore, we didn’t have a pure understanding of the words of the Bible, living within notions and imaginings. We used to watch the clouds in the sky, waiting for the Lord to descend with clouds to bring us into the heavenly home. Alas, what a lamentable thing it is!”
Wang Jing chimed in, “Yes, the pastors and elders can’t communicate any reality of the biblical truth, and instead they only talk about something coming from their imaginings and notions. As a result, we did so many absurd things so as to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. Over these years, we’ve often prayed on the top of the mountain. We believed: Mountaintop is close to the sky, so when the Lord comes, we will be seen and raptured first. Thinking about it now, Aren’t we silly!”
Hou En also eagerly said, “That’s right. In the past, I would gaze at the sky to find which cloud was more special instantly I went outside. If I found a special one, I would think: Will the Lord return on it and bring me into the heavenly home? Just like this, I kept watching and waiting. I’ve always been longing and waiting for more than a decade, yet there is still no result. Not until now did I realize that God’s kingdom is on earth. However, we persistently wanted to go up to heaven, weren’t we going in the wrong direction? Oh! I heard pastors or elders give sermons during these years of my faith in the lord; yet not only did I not understand any truth, but I did these absurd things.”
Shang Jin thought to herself: Who hasn’t done so?
More brothers and sisters sent smiley faces to express their understanding one after another. All of them said with a sigh, “We take entering the kingdom of heaven to be simple.”
This discussion made her moved. She thought: If God didn’t wonderfully arrange such a chance, I would all along believe God’s kingdom was in heaven. Going on in this way, I really don’t know what consequences that will have for me. It is clear that God’s kingdom is on earth, but I have always obsessively waited for the Lord to arrive and take me up to the sky. If that continued, I would not welcome the Lord’s coming forever. Thinking of this consequence, she felt a little fear. Meanwhile, she was thankful to know where the heavenly kingdom is now.
She sighed deeply in WhatsApp group: “Thank God! Through such a communication, my heart has brightened up. I’m pondering: In the Book of Revelation, God clearly said that the kingdom of Christ will appear on the earth, but why do all the people in religious circles hope the Lord will come and bring them into the heaven? Pastors and elders study and expound on Revelation every day, but why do they not know that Christ’s kingdom is to be realized upon the earth? Isn’t it that they are carried away by their great desires for blessings? Besides, we clung to our conceptions and imaginings, and just waited for the Lord to return and take us into the kingdom of heaven. Thinking about it now, I come to realize: How vague, absurd and impractical it is! Obviously, it is our notion and imagination that we yearn to be brought into heaven by the Lord, which has nothing to do with the Lord’s promise and which runs completely against God’s will and the fact that God wishes to complete.”
“Yeah, no kidding.”
“Oh, conceptions and illusions really are too harmful to people.”
There still was a warm discussion about that, and they all were excited because they had understood God’s kingdom is on earth …
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