Today, we will answer the question raised by Sister Diwata from Clark: “The preacher told us that the Lord would come through the incarnation in the last days, which is essential for our salvation and entry into the kingdom of heaven. I wish to understand more about this aspect of the truth.”
About this aspect, Almighty God’s words have told us clearly. Let’s take 3 minutes to read them.
Almighty God says, “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.”
Recently, there’s something I’m not clear on. I have communicated about it with many brothers and sisters, but finally, I didn’t get a positive result. Just when I didn’t know what to do next, a sister recommended your website. She said that while she was surfing online, she saw that your fellowship and answers were very enlightening and contained an insightful view about the Bible in reply to questions from brothers and sisters, and that her questions were also resolved through your website. So, I hope that my questions will also be resolved here.
For every Christian who is waiting devoutly for the return of the Lord, the topic of the believers’ rapture when the Lord returns in the last days is always attractive. None of believers are not expecting to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes back. However, what on earth is the true meaning of rapture? Does it really mean that the believers are lifted into the air by the Lord in the last days? To understand this aspect of the truth, let’s first read several verses. 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 man’s thought, since here it is said that Philip was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, he was taken to heaven. Yet, in fact, “Philip was found at Azotus” and he preached the gospel in all cities, doing the Lord’s will on earth. From this we can see that Philip was not taken into heaven but was still on the earth.
In the year when I was 18, I believed in the Lord Jesus because of my illness, and gradually recovered as a result of the Lord’s grace. To repay His love, I determined to work for the Lord all my life. Then I joined a church choir and became a singing teacher. I often sang hymns and prayed in praise of the Lord with brothers and sisters. Besides, I performed Christian drama and preached the Lord’s gospel in many places. When I followed the Lord, I had particular faith in what Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). I often taught brothers and sisters to sing this song, believing that as long as we are willing to sacrifice for the Lord, we can obtain His approval, enter the heavenly kingdom, and get a reward. So I would feel abundant happiness every time I thought that in the heavenly kingdom there would be no arrest and persecution of the Chinese Communist Party, no ridicule, slander and judgment from the world, no suffering, tears, sadness, and death; but instead, there would be the eternal days with the company of angels, filled with cheers and laughter, and in the presence of the Lord. When preaching and working for the Lord, I often had to face the CCP’s arrest and persecution. However, as soon as I thought of the Bible saying, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17), I would believe there would be eternal blessing of the heavenly kingdom in the future. And all this was worthwhile no matter how much I suffered and how many tears I shed for the Lord. Therefore, I was resolved to spend my whole life preaching and working for the Lord.
Westward declined the sun; the sunset’s afterglow tinted half of the sky and the evening glow appeared especially beautiful and dazzling. Su Mingyue, sauntering on the pebble road in the park, looking thoughtful, didn’t have the heart to enjoy such a brilliant scenery. A breeze stirred the tips of the trees, golden falling leaves dropping with the wind. This scene was just like her mood at that time. She was thinking: Over the past twenty years in serving the Lord, I have often sinned, but I believe firmly all along that the Lord has already forgiven the sins of us humans. And as long as I stick to working and preaching for Him, I will change in an instant and become holy, and then be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when He comes back. Yet … the scenes just now, just like motion pictures, were swimming into her mind.
I believe that all followers of God want to attain salvation and enter into God’s kingdom so that they may enjoy the blessings of the heavenly kingdom. But how can we actually do that? There are probably quite a few brothers and sisters who would respond, “The Lord Jesus Himself redeemed us on the cross, absolving us of all of our sins, so in His eyes we are no longer sinners. As long as we follow the Lord Jesus, keep reading the Bible, praying, going to church, and diligently doing the Lord’s work, when He returns we’ll be completely saved and we’ll enter God’s kingdom.”
Nowadays, earthquakes, fires, floods, plagues of insects, epidemics and other disasters are growing ever greater, and just in recent weeksthe novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world. Faced with these disasters, many believers think that, having accepted the Lord Jesus’ salvation of the cross, as long as they acknowledge the Lord with their mouths and believe in Him in their hearts then they are saved. They believe that as long as they pray and read the Bible lots and have faith in the Lord, then the Lord will protect them from the disasters, and they will immediately be raised up into the kingdom of heaven when He returns, for as the Bible says: “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:10). But is this belief really correct? Does it accord with the Lord’s will? Let’s explore this together.
We are now in the last stage of the last days, I’ve seen in the news that all kinds of disasters are growing and growing in scale, and whether or not I can be caught up before the disasters and made into an overcomer before the disasters are key issues for me. My opinion about these two issues is that, so long as we hold to the name of the Lord no matter what happens, work hard for the Lord and do not turn back as we go through all manner of adversities, then we can become overcomers. And when the disasters come, we can then be caught up into the sky to meet with the Lord and enjoy His promise. But some have questioned my opinion, saying that some people have now achieved this and that, moreover, the disasters are growing in scale and many kinds of disasters have befallen us already, and yet still no one has been seen being raised up into the sky. Does being caught up really mean being raised up into the sky? And is it so simple to become an overcomer, that one becomes an overcomer just by achieving these things? I don’t quite understand all this, so I’d like to ask your opinion. Looking forward to your reply!
One day, Bai Hua mounted the pulpit, and said seriously, “Brothers and sisters, I often think that though we have believed in the Lord, we still often lie and deceive others, be jealous and disputatious, and cannot treat others fairly. Then, can we, who still commit sins too often, really be raptured into the kingdom of heaven? Can sinners be permitted to enter the kingdom of heaven?”
Seeing Bai Hua change her previous manner of a preacher, brothers and sisters all felt a bit surprised, and then perked up. The atmosphere of the gathering seemed to be more relaxing than before. Everyone was to say what they liked. Luo Tao said with assurance, “Sister Bai, what’s the matter with you today? Before, you usually interpreted this verse of the Bible to us: ‘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). According to Paul’s words, we can know that whether man is dead or alive, he will be caught up into the kingdom of heaven later. What’s there to doubt!” Hearing this, some people nodded in agreement, while Bai Hua frowned, as if in thought.