1. 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” (1Ts 4:17). We believe that once the Lord arrives, we will be caught up directly into the clouds in the sky to meet with Him. You testify that the Lord has returned, so why have we not been caught up?
Our welcoming of the Lord’s return ought to be based on the prophecies of the Lord Jesus—that would be most correct. Whose words are you referencing? The words of the Lord, or the words of man? “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” was spoken by Paul; neither the Lord Jesus nor the Holy Spirit ever uttered such words. Does Paul speak for the Lord Jesus? Can his words represent the words of God? Only God knows the mystery of how the Lord shall raise up the believers into the heavenly kingdom during the last days. If us corrupt humans have the gall to blindly interpret and conclude such things, then there is a serious problem. Paul was not Christ, he was but a corrupt human being. What he said had no basis in the words of God, and so there is no doubt that it brimmed with the taints and imaginings of man. Thus, the words of Paul are not the truth, and they cannot serve as any kind of basis; the only correct way to welcome the Lord’s arrival is to act according to the words of God in the Bible.
Let us take a look at what the Lord Jesus said: “Our Father which are in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:9–10). The Lord Jesus is clearly telling us that the kingdom of God is on earth, not in the sky, and God’s will shall be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Let us now look at Revelation 21:2–3: “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 in Revelation 11:15 it says: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” The mention of “the tabernacle of God is with men,” “new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,” and “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ” in these prophecies sufficiently proves that the kingdom of God is made on earth. He will live with man on earth, and the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdom of Christ, for ever and ever. According to our notions and imaginings, the kingdom of God is in heaven, and when the Lord comes, He shall raise us up into heaven. If that were so, how then would the words of God be fulfilled? In reality, the final achievement of God’s management plan for the salvation of mankind is the creation of God’s kingdom on earth. Christ of the last days, Almighty God, does the work of judging and cleansing man in order to create a group of overcomers on earth; these overcomers, who are saved and completed by God, are those who practice the words of God and follow the way of God on earth—they are the people of God’s kingdom. When these overcomers are made complete, God’s will shall be done on earth, after which Christ’s kingdom shall be realized on earth, and God shall be fully glorified. The prophecies of the Book of Revelation are what God ultimately wishes to achieve—can you really not see this fact?
There may be some who ask, if the kingdom is on earth, why did the Lord Jesus say, “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” (Jhn 14:2–3)? The Lord Jesus ascended to heaven after the resurrection to prepare a place for us, so reason dictates that this place should also be in heaven—how are these words to be understood? It is fair to say that no one can fathom the prophecies of the Lord. We only understand what the Lord Jesus’ words are really referring to after accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days and seeing the facts of His work’s fulfillment. The Lord preparing a place for us refers to God becoming flesh to speak and work on earth in the last days. So, too, did He predetermine that we would be born during the last days, and when He appears and performs His work we are raised before God’s throne to accept the judgment and cleansing of God’s words, and be made into overcomers before the arrival of the disasters. The process of the Lord coming to receive us is the process of cleansing and perfecting us. We eat, drink, and enjoy the words of God, we experience the work of God, and we attend the feast with God—is this not us meeting with the Lord? When the day arrives that God’s work comes to an end, and we are cleansed and perfected, we shall be brought into God’s kingdom. At that time, the kingdoms of the earth shall become the kingdom of Christ, Christ shall reign in the kingdom, and we shall be the people of God who worship Him in His kingdom. Does this not fulfill the words of the Lord, “where I am, there you may be also”? God’s kingdom is built on earth, God has decreed that we shall live on earth. Does our insistence that we go up into heaven not run contrary to the work and will of God?
So just what does it mean to be caught up? This was unclear to most people. Only when Almighty God came was this mystery of being caught up revealed to us, saying: “‘Being caught up’ does not mean being taken from a low place to a high place, as people might imagine; that is a huge misconception. ‘Being caught up’ refers to My predestining and then selecting. It is directed at all those I have predestined and chosen. All those who are caught up are people who have gained the status of firstborn sons or sons, or who are God’s people. This is most incompatible with people’s notions. Those who will have a share in My house in the future are all ones who have been caught up before Me. This is absolutely true, never-changing, and irrefutable. It is a counterattack against Satan. Anyone I predestined shall be caught up before Me” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 104). Almighty God unambiguously states that “being caught up” is not as we imagine—it does not mean that we are raised up from the ground and lifted into the clouds to meet with the Lord, much less does it mean that we are raised up into heaven. Instead, it refers to us hearing the voice of God and following God, accepting and obeying His work of the last days, and following the footsteps of the Lamb when God is incarnated during the last days to speak, appear, and work. This is the true meaning of being raised before God’s throne. All who are able to recognize the voice of God, and who can, amid the words of Almighty God, discover and accept the truth and turn to Almighty God, are the wise virgins, they are all the “gold, silver and precious stones” who were “stolen” by the Lord and returned to God’s house. These people are all able to understand and accept the truth, and understand the voice of God, and they are those who are truly raised before God. Since Almighty God embarked upon the work of the last days, more and more people who truly yearn for the appearance of God have recognized the voice of God in the words of Almighty God. Each has accepted God’s work of judgment of the last days, been brought face-to-face with God before His throne, accepted the watering and nourishment of God’s words, possesses true knowledge of God, has been cleansed of their corrupt dispositions, and lives out the reality of God’s words. These people have already been made into overcomers before the disasters, they have become the first fruits who are gained by God. Those who cling to their own notions and imaginings, who foolishly wait for the Lord to come and lift them up into heaven, and who refuse to accept God’s work of judgment of the last days—they are the foolish virgins, they shall be forsaken by God, and are bound to be plunged into disaster, weeping bitterly and gnashing their teeth. This is a fact.