By Chen Li
The meeting began. Pastor Yu was leading brothers and sisters in reading, “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). Then, Pastor Yu fellowshiped, “Now is the late period of the last days. It is the critical moment of the Lord returning. The Lord could come at any time to receive us. Then we will be raptured into the clouds to meet the Lord. We will be able to avoid the disasters on earth and enter the kingdom of heaven without experiencing the taste of death. Brothers and sisters, we are truly so blessed to be born in the last days!” Hearing the Pastor’s words, everybody was excited and eagerly yearned for the Lord coming soon so that they could escape the worries in the world and would be with the Lord forever.
Hearing Pastor Yu’s fellowship, Chen Li worried that she was not enough qualified to be raptured because she often lived in sin and could not put the Lord’s words into practice. Therefore, after the meeting, Chen Li hurriedly went to ask Pastor Yu, “Pastor Yu, we all expect the Lord to come to bring us into the kingdom of heaven. But what kind of people will the Lord rapture when He returns?”
Pastor Yu smiled and replied, “The church is the body of Christ. The Lord comes to rapture the church, so union in the church is union in Christ. We are all members of the church, which means when the church is raptured, all of us will be raptured. No one will be left on earth. You get it? Perhaps when our praise to God reaches its peak in a meeting, the Lord will come, and all of us will be directly raptured….” Chen Li was excited at the pastor’s fellowship. She finally put away her apprehension and determined that she would never miss any meeting from then on, because she might be raptured when she was in a meeting someday.
One day, when Chen Li was practicing spiritual devotions, she saw the following words of the: “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Luke 17:34-35). Chen Li was shocked at the Lord’s words and got confused: “Pastor Yu said that the Lord will come to rapture all of the brothers and sisters in the church. It is not in line with the Lord’s words. The Lord said clearly that one shall be taken and the other shall be left. How can it be that the whole church will be raptured? Alas, what does rapture really refer to? What kind of people can be raptured?” Chen Li racked her brains, but could not find the answers.
One day, Chen Li met Han Meihua by chance, a friend whom she hadn’t seen for years. Han Meihua was traveling everywhere to preach all year round, so Chen Li followed Han Meihua to her home and told Han Meihua her confusion. Han Meihua fellowshiped, “When it comes to, most people in the religious world hold to the words of Paul and believe that the Lord will lift us into the clouds to meet Him when He returns. But the Lord’s words say: ‘And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven’ (John 3:13). The Lord Jesus clearly told us that aside from the incarnate God, nobody else ascended into heaven. So how can it be possible that we are brought into heaven? As we know, heaven is God’s throne and earth is God’s footstool. Isn’t it too unrealistic that we often expect to be raptured in the air to meet the Lord? This is purely man’s conception and imagination.
“Moreover, we all know that God formed man of the dust of the ground and let man live on earth; when God wanted to destroy the world by flood, Jehovah God just commanded Noah to make an ark on earth, instead of taking Noah into heaven to escape the flood; in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus came to the world to be crucified for man. From beginning to end, God does His work on earth, and we humans have been living on earth, too. No one is ever seen raptured into air. Do you remember what the Lord’s prayer says? It says: ‘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 Lord Jesus clearly said that God’s will shall be done on earth. That is to say, we will inherit theon earth, and we will follow God’s way and God’s will on earth. This fulfills the words of the Book of Revelation: ‘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 21:3).
Chen Li was shocked at these words, “Thank the Lord! It’s certainly just as you say. That the Lord Jesus required us to pray that God’s will be done on earth means that God will lead us on earth, but we want to go to heaven. What we do is contrary to God’s words, isn’t it? The archangel was struck into the air by God because it competed with God for status. So isn’t the air the place for Satan? We always want to be raptured into the air: We are trying to be the archangel and stay with Satan, aren’t we? Then, the saying of Paul that to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air is not in line with the Lord’s will at all. Well, Sister Han, what does rapture really refer to? Now that we will not be raptured into heaven, where will we be raptured? Please communicate with me some more on this issue.”
Looking at Chen Li, Han Meihua smiled and said, “As for rapture, ordinary people cannot see through it or explain it. It is by reading the words of a book that I understood what rapture truly refers to.”
Then, Han Meihua opened the drawer and took out a book. She read, “‘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 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” (“The One Hundred and Fourth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Then Han Meihua fellowshiped, “In this passage we see that being caught up is not as what we have imagined. It is not that we are caught up in the air or into heaven from earth, but that we are predestined and chosen by God to return before the throne of God to follow His footsteps and accept His new work. It is just like the time when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, those who came out of the Age of Law and entered the Age of Grace by accepting the Lord Jesus’ new work were brought before God, which meant they were raptured.
“In the last days, the Lord will do a stage of new work when He returns, which is prophesied in the Bible: ‘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’ (John 16:12-13). ‘Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’ (1 Peter 1:5). ‘So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation’ (Hebrews 9:28). From these verses we see that the Lord will speak and work to save people when He returns in the last days. Although we were given redemption by the Lord Jesus and are forgiven our sins, we haven’t broken free from our sinful nature, still being bound by sin and living helplessly in a state of committing sins and confessing them. God says: ‘You shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:44). If we want to be cleansed and enter the kingdom of heaven, we need God’s work in the last days to save us. By then, so long as we follow God’s footsteps and accept His new work in the last days, we will be raptured before God.”
After listening to Sister Han’s fellowship Chen Li had a sudden realization, “Right! The Book of Revelation prophesied: ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb’ (Revelation 14:4). Now I know that those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb are the people that accept God’s new work in the last days. They are the people that will be raptured before God. Alas! The work of God is so practical. We are foolishly expecting to be raptured into the air. It seems that believers who don’t understand the truth are all delusional and are making wild conjectures. To put it plainly, we have believed in God foolishly. Sister Han, you say that the Lord will come to do a stage of new work. It is completely in line with the Bible, and it is what we need. Then how should we welcome the Lord and be raptured before the throne of God?”
Han Meihua continued her fellowship, “There are also prophecies about this truth in the Bible: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 3:6). ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). ‘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’ (Revelation 3:20). The Lord prophesied that He will speak and utter words when He returns. God’s sheep hear His voice. When someone shouts that the bridegroom comes, that is, when someone preaches the return of the Lord, we should be wise virgins and humbly seek and examine as well as pay attention to hearing. In this way, we will have the opportunity to welcome the Lord and accept His new work to be raptured before the throne of God. On the contrary, the foolish virgins pay no attention to hearing ; they don’t seek or examine, nor do they have a thirst for the truth. Instead, they hold fast to their own conceptions and imaginations. In the end, they will miss the opportunity to be raptured. This fulfills one of the Lord Jesus’ predictions: ‘I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left’” (Luke 17:34-35).
After listening to this fellowship, Chen Li couldn’t help sighing with emotion, “Thank the Lord! Now I understand that the wise virgins are raptured before the throne of God because they can hear God’s voice while the foolish virgins are forsaken and eliminated because they pay no attention to hearing God’s voice. God is so righteous….”
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