Do you know how to listen to God’s voice and welcome the Lord?
By Shang Jin
A gospel website has ingeniously launched several chat sections recently, including “A Brief Talk: Is the Kingdom of Heaven in Heaven or on Earth?”; “Get Involved: Have You Been Raptured?”; “A Question: Are You Following?” etc. In the end, Shang Jin chose the section, “A Brief Talk: Is the Kingdom of Heaven in Heaven or on Earth?” 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 take 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? How beautiful is the heavenly kingdom?
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 God’s kingdom in heaven or on earth?” So she clicked the related link.
In the forum, a person 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 heaven or on earth, we do need to fellowship. It truly is the major issue 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).”
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 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, when the Lord returns, we will certainly be taken to heaven and live with the Lord there? How can this be explained?
Just as she was puzzled, Chen Zheng continued sending messages: “Some people might say, ‘Before He left, the Lord Jesus said He would go to prepare a place for us.’ Therefore, they think this place is in the sky. In fact, it is true that the Lord has prepared 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 and 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 respectively mention ‘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 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 believe God’s kingdom is in heaven based on our own conceptions and imaginings, believe that when the Lord comes He will take us up into heaven, 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; additionally, in order to redeem us, God incarnate came to earth and was crucified for us. Therefore, the place God has prepared for our final destination will also be 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.
The Lord Jesus once prophesied, “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). “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). There’s also 1 Peter chapter 4 verse 17, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” As well as 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 5, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” From all these verses we can see that the Lord will return in the last days to express the truth and do the work of judgment beginning from the house of God in order to thoroughly save mankind from sin, cleanse and change mankind, and make a group of overcomers. In other words, they will be the people of God’s kingdom—people that can practice, follow God’s way. When God has completed a group of overcomers, God’s will will be done on earth, the kingdom of Christ will also be established on earth, and God will gain full glory. So the place the Lord Jesus prepared for us is not in heaven. Instead, He ordained that we be born in the last days, welcome His return on earth, receive His purification and perfection, be made into overcomers, and follow 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 it 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 don’t even know 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 in the Book of Revelation are so clear but how come we’ve never seen them before? How blind we are!”
Qianhe said: “How mystical the prophecies in the Bible are! If nobody fellowshiped this, and we didn’t ponder the prophecies, how could we figure out that the heavenly kingdom is on earth?”
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 in the Bible, living within notions and imaginings. We used to look up to the skies, 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 things 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 a mountain. We believed: The 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, as soon as I stepped out of the house, I would gaze at the sky to find which cloud was more special. If I found a special one, I would think: Will the Lord return on it and take me into the heavenly home? Just like this, I kept watching and waiting. I’ve been longing and waiting for more than a decade for nothing. 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? Alas! I heard pastors or elders give many 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 such things?
More brothers and sisters sent smiley faces one after another to express their understanding. All of them said with a sigh, “We take entering the kingdom of heaven to be too simple.”
This discussion moved her. She thought: If God didn’t wonderfully arrange such an opportunity, I would always believe God’s kingdom is in heaven. If I were to go on in this way, I really don’t know what consequences I would face. 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 into the sky. In this way, I would never be able to welcome the Lord’s coming. Thinking of this consequence, she felt a little fear. Meanwhile, she was thankful to now know where the heavenly kingdom is.
She expressed her feelings: “Thank God! Through such a communication, my heart has brightened. I’m pondering: In the Book of Revelation, God clearly said that the kingdom of Christ will appear on earth, but why do all the people in religious world hope the Lord will come and bring them into 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, we hoping to be brought into heaven by the Lord is our notion and imagining, which has nothing to do with the Lord’s promise, which runs completely against God’s will and the fact that God wishes to complete.” We hoping to be brought into heaven by the Lord is our notion and imagining
“Ah, conceptions and illusions really are too harmful to people.”
There was still a warm discussion going on, and they were all excited because they had understood God’s kingdom is on earth …
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