My name is Shu Fan. Like all the other believers, I had dreamed the dream of rapture, awaiting the Lord Jesus to come to take me into the air and join me with Him forever, so that I could share in the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. One morning, when I was doing exercise in a square, I saw Brother Wu radiant with happiness practicing Tai Chi. Then I smiled and asked him, “Hey, Wu! What makes you so happy?”
Brother Wu said excitedly, “Brother Shu, I’m telling you a piece of fantastic news—I have been raptured!”
I looked at him with surprise, “You’ve been raptured? Are you still dreaming? If you were raptured, why are you chatting with me here?”
He said seriously, “This proves that we don’t understand the truth about rapture….”
I said defiantly, “Brother Wu, you really think little of me! Ten years ago, Pastor Chen always preached on 1 Thessalonians 4:17, ‘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.’ Before the calamity comes, we who are alive shall be caught up in the air to meet the Lord in the twinkling of an eye. I also often give sermons about that to the believers. How come you say I don’t know that?”
Brother Wu smiled and said, “Brother Shu, let’s discuss a question. From when man came into existence, is man living on earth or in heaven?”
I said freely, “Of course on earth!”
Brother Wu said with sincerity, “Yeah, you’re right! In the beginning, Jehovah God made man out of the dust of the ground, and then put them in the Garden of Eden and let them live on the earth. From that, we see God’s will is to make man live on the earth, not in heaven. Thus, to be raptured does not mean to be taken from the earth into heaven. That is man’s imagination, not accordant with the fact. What’s more, when the Lord Jesus was working on earth, He told us in advance where He would carry out His work when He comes again….”
I asked eagerly, “What? The Lord Jesus already told us where He would carry out His work when He comes? How could it be possible? I have read the Bible for years, but why didn’t I know this?”
He said, “Brother Shu, Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer that He taught us, ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10). ‘Your kingdom come’ indicates that God will do His work still on the earth when He returns, and that His kingdom is still on earth, not in heaven. And from the words ‘Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,’ we know God wishes us to carry out His will on the earth instead of ascending to heaven. What’s more, Revelation 21:3 says, ‘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 11:15 says, ‘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.’ From the Lord Jesus’ words and these prophecies, we can see: When the Lord comes back, He will still work on earth, establish His kingdom on earth, live with us on earth and lead us personally. If rapture means to be taken into heaven as we imagine, then won’t these prophecies fall through?”
Brother Wu’s fellowship astonished me. I thought: Yes. The Lord Jesus did say that, and the Book of Revelation indeed prophesies like that. Will God really establish His kingdom on earth? I have read the Bible so many times. I also recite those verses regularly. But why did I not realize their spiritual meanings? What Brother Wu fellowshiped has basis in the Bible, so it can’t be wrong. But my opinion about rapture to heaven is also from the Bible. What is going on here?
Then Brother Wu continued, “Let’s see what Almighty God says.” With that, he took me to a place with few people, and took out a MP5 player from his bag. He turned it on and read,
“Almighty God says, ‘… Humanity entering into rest means that all of humanity will live within God’s light and under His blessings; there will be none of Satan’s corruption, nor will any unrighteous things occur. Humanity will live normally upon earth, and they will live under God’s care. … When humanity enters into rest, it means that man has become a true creation; humanity will worship God from upon the earth and have normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist God; they will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These are the respective lives and destinations of God and humanity after they enter into rest. Satan’s defeat is an inevitable trend in the war between God and Satan. In this way, God’s entering into rest after the completion of His management work and man’s complete salvation and entrance into rest likewise become inevitable trends. Man’s place of rest is on earth, and God’s place of rest is in heaven. While man rests, he will worship God and also live upon earth, and while God rests, He will lead the remaining portion of humanity …’ (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From Almighty God’s words, we see God’s place of rest is in heaven, while man’s place of rest is still on earth. Man will enjoy a life of heaven on earth, a harmonious, beautiful life that God has prepared for man. That is precisely what God will accomplish in the end—to build the kingdom of Christ on the earth. Besides, Jehovah once said, ‘The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…?’ (Isaiah 66:1). From the time of creation until today, who has ever gone to heaven? If man always wants to go to heaven, then won’t he be running contrary to God’s requirements?”
I replied in bewilderment, “Brother Wu, there seems to be some reason in your fellowship. But the Bible says, ‘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). How do you explain that?”
Brother Wu fellowshiped, “Brother Shu, we should rely on the prophecies spoken by the Lord Jesus while longing for His return. That is the most exact way. ‘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.’ These are Paul’s words, not the Lord Jesus’. We believers should listen to the Lord’s words, rather than the words of man. The Lord Jesus has never made such a statement, nor has the Holy Spirit. When God created man, He put man on the earth and let them live and worship God on the earth; He did not take man into the midair, which is where demons and Satan live, and is not meant for man.”
Hearing Brother Wu’s fellowship, I was utterly convinced. It’s quite truthful. Heaven is God’s dwelling place and God’s throne, which is unoffendable by man. Because the archangel wanted to be equal with God, it was struck down into the midair and cursed by God. Only God can stay in heaven, and no man can go up there. Thinking of this, I said, “Brother Wu, after your fellowship today, I benefit a lot. You’re right. As we believe in God, our expectation for the Lord’s coming should be in accordance with God’s words, not man’s words. Since God’s kingdom is on earth, and God will reign on earth, then what exactly does rapture mentioned in Scripture refer to? How will that be fulfilled?”
Brother Wu answered, “Brother Shu, rapture is not, as we imagine, to be lifted from a lower place to a higher place, or to ascend from earth to heaven. Just as Acts 8:39-40 says, ‘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 imagination, since Philip was caught away by God’s Spirit, certainly he would no longer be on earth, but be taken to heaven. The fact, however, was contrary to our imagination. Instead of being caught up to heaven, Philip was found preaching the gospel of the Lord in all the cities, carrying out God’s will on earth. Rapture doesn’t mean being caught up to the air or ascending to outer space from the earth. Exactly speaking, it refers to elevation in the spiritual state, which means to follow the footsteps of the Lamb and come before God to accept His newer and higher work. For example, in the Age of Law, people believed in Jehovah and kept the law. When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, people who were raptured were those who came out of the law, followed His work, and received His redemption. Today, the returned Lord Jesus—Almighty God, has ended the Age of Grace and brought the Age of Kingdom. If one can come out of the Age of Grace, keep pace with Almighty God’s work in the last days, and in the end is fully purified and saved by God, brought into the wonderful destination, he will have truly been raptured. Just as Almighty God says, ‘People imagine that “rapture” means rising from below unto up high. That is utterly wrong. Rapture means selection after having been predestined by Me, and refers to all those who were predestined and are chosen, … and nothing is more at odds with the conceptions of man. All who have a share in My future household will have been taken before Me: This is the absolute truth, it is immutable, it can be refuted by no man, and it strikes back against Satan. All who were predestined by Me will be taken before Me’ (“The One Hundred and Fourth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From the words of Almighty God, we can see that rapture does not mean rising from below unto up high, or ascending from earth to heaven. That is just our imagination. Rather, rapture means that people are chosen by God and return to Him after having been predestined by Him. In the last days, God becomes flesh again to speak and work on earth. Those who accept and obey it after hearing His voice are those who have been raptured before His throne. They’ve recognized God’s voice from His utterances, and are watered and fed with God’s words. In the end, they will gain a true knowledge of God, have their corrupt disposition purified, and live in the blessings of God.”
Hearing Brother Wu’s fellowship and Almighty God’s words, I saw the light suddenly. Almighty God’s words are very practical and not vague at all. In the past, my understanding of rapture was indeed my own notion and imagination, which was too vague and not practical. I said with a smile, “Brother Wu, it surprises me that you have become much more insightful than you were before. It would seem that Almighty God’s words are actually with more profound truth and worth seeking and investigating.”
Brother Wu said with delight, “Thanks be to God! Brother Shu, Almighty God is really the returned Lord Jesus for whom we have been yearning. He is now seeking those who can recognize His voice. He will bring all of them to His house and rapture them before His throne. And He will give them free access to His provision of the living water of life! Let me read some more words from Almighty God for you. Almighty God says, ‘What God wants are people who follow His footsteps. No matter how wonderful and pure what you understood before is, God does not want it, and if you are unable to put aside such things, then they will be a tremendous obstacle to your entry in the future. All those who are able to follow the present light of the Holy Spirit are blessed. The people of ages past also followed the footsteps of God, yet they could not follow until today; this is the blessing of the people of the last days. Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God. Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them. … All who are able to obey the actual utterances of the Holy Spirit are blessed. It does not matter how they used to be, or how the Holy Spirit used to work within them—those who have gained the latest work are the most blessed, and those who are unable to follow the latest work today are eliminated. God wants those who are able to accept the new light, and He wants those who accept and know His latest work. Why is it said that you must be a chaste virgin? A chaste virgin is able to seek the work of the Holy Spirit and understand the new things, and moreover, able to put aside old conceptions, and obey the work of God today. This group of people, who accept the newest work of today, were predestined by God when the world began, and are the most blessed of people. You hear the voice of God directly, and behold the appearance of God, and so, throughout heaven and earth, and throughout the ages, none have been more blessed than you, this group of people’ (“Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God” in Listen to the Voice of God Know Christ). ‘Today’s truth is given to those who yearn for and seek it. This salvation is granted to those who yearn to be saved by God, and is not only meant to be gained by you, but is also so that you can be gained by God. You gain God in order that God can gain you’ (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
Then Brother Wu went on with his fellowship, “From Almighty God’s words, we can see that God is always new and never old. In order to save corrupt mankind, God has been constantly doing new work, supplying and leading man. At each stage of His work, people chosen by God are those who can drop their religious notions, who can yearn for and seek the present work of the Holy Spirit, and accept God’s new words. Although all the followers of the Lord Jesus, including Peter and John, used to read the Old Testament and hold onto Jehovah’s laws, when the Lord Jesus came to do new work and express new words, they could let go of their religious conceptions and come out of the law to accept His new work and words. Therefore, they gained the Lord Jesus’ salvation, gained the peace and joy of being forgiven of their sins, as well as abundant blessings and grace bestowed by God. However, those priests, scribes and Pharisees were always unwilling to drop their notions and imaginations. They not only did not seek and investigate the Lord Jesus’ work and word, but even blasphemed, condemned and opposed His work. So they lost the Lord Jesus’ salvation and suffered due punishment in the end. Similarly, today, all those who can follow God’s steps in His new work, that is, accept Almighty God’s work, read Almighty God’s utterances, and truly submit to Almighty God are those who keep pace with the present work of the Holy Spirit. These people are the ones chosen by God and taken before His throne, and they are the most blessed ones. On the contrary, those who are unwilling to seek, accept, or obey Almighty God’s work of the last days will lose the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, fall into darkness, and miss God’s salvation of the last days. Moreover, as for those religious leaders and wicked people who wildly condemn and oppose God’s work of the last days, if they don’t repent from start to finish, they will receive God’s righteous punishment in the end.”
After listening to Almighty God’s words and Brother Wu’s fellowship, I seemed to suddenly realize the way to be raptured before the Lord. I felt excited inside, and said to Brother Wu, “Brother, your fellowship is so practical. All those who can put aside their notions, obey the work of the Holy Spirit, and follow the steps of God’s new work are people who have been raptured before God. These understandings and knowledge are very practical, and I agree to them totally.”
Brother Wu smiled and said, “Now, God’s six-thousand-year management plan is coming to an end, and the gate of the kingdom has been opened to all those who seek the appearance of God. Almighty God says, ‘God seeks those who long for Him to appear. He seeks those who are able to hear His words, those who have not forgotten His commission and offer up their heart and body to Him. He seeks those who are as obedient as babes before Him, and do not resist Him. If you are unhindered by any force in your devotion to God, then God shall look upon you with favor, and shall bestow His blessings upon you’ (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s work has spread to many foreign countries and regions. Most of the brothers and sisters who truly believe in God in various denominations and sects have been raptured before God’s throne. They are enjoying God’s word to their heart’s content, pursuing to cast off their corrupt disposition and be made perfect by God. Are you willing to be raptured before Almighty God’s throne by Him?”
I said excitedly, “Of course. Although there are still many things I don’t understand about Almighty God’s work, I’d like to seek and investigate it.”
Brother Wu was all smiles, saying, “Praise God! Let’s listen to a hymn of life experience.”
I nodded with joy.
Dance Around the Throne
1. The last Christ has appeared; the kingdom is among men. Almighty God is seated on the throne, with a smile, uttering His voice to all the nations, revealing His majesty. The heavens and the earth are cheering together; all nations and all peoples are dancing together. God has gained glory. Praise, praise, praise greatly. See who is swaying more joyfully! Dance, dance around the throne. As Almighty God’s word issues forth, the earth is revived and is renewed into a new state; the earth is clothed in green. Today’s life is really wonderful; we are all taken up before God, more and more joyful with dancing, more and more joyful with dancing.
2. We have returned to God’s throne, eating and drinking around the throne; we are praising, really joyful. It’s God’s grace! The life in the past is unforgettable; today is sweeter than the past. It’s God’s exaltation. Praise, praise, praise greatly. See who is swaying more joyfully! Dance, dance around the throne. The heavens are happy and the earth is joyful; the stars are dancing and the moon is smiling; the birds in the trees are chattering; we are all beaming with smiles; we are revived. Everything has been changed. God reigns in the kingdom. The kingdom life is really wonderful, the kingdom life is really wonderful.
from Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs