What Really Is Being Raptured?
2,000 years ago, after the Lord Jesus was crucified and completed His redemption work, He promised He’d return. Since then, all believers have been longing for our Savior to come down on a cloud to be raptured up to Him. Believers are hoping to be raptured at any moment, but they’re watching the disasters unfold before them and have yet to welcome the Lord returning on a cloud. Many are feeling very disheartened. They’re constantly wondering if the Lord has actually returned and if any believers have been raptured up yet, but no one has seen anything of the sort. What they’re seeing is disasters growing and growing, pandemics becoming more serious, and more people dying in disasters, even some pastors and elders. People are feeling afraid or maybe even abandoned by the Lord, feeling like they could die in the disasters at any moment. They can’t figure out why the Lord hasn’t returned and raptured them now that the disasters have begun. It’s surprising to them that Eastern Lightning has been bearing witness that the Lord Jesus has already returned as Almighty God incarnate, expressing truths and doing the work of judgment in the last days. Many who long for the truth read Almighty God’s words, recognize the voice of God, and turn toward Almighty God. They are eating and drinking Almighty God’s words every day, sustained and nurtured by them, and attend the Lamb’s wedding feast. They are the ones who have welcomed the Lord and have been raptured up before God’s throne before the disasters. Many religious people are confused, thinking, “Eastern Lightning has to be wrong about the Lord having returned and their being raptured, because 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). If the Lord has returned, why haven’t we been taken up? Isn’t He supposed to take people up into the sky? Eastern Lightning believers are clearly still on earth, so how could they be raptured?” It makes no sense to them at all. Well then, what does being raptured actually mean? Lots of people don’t understand the true meaning of rapture, but think it means being taken up into the sky, so anyone still on earth hasn’t been raptured. They are very mistaken.
Hoping for the Lord to return and rapture them is entirely correct, as the Lord Jesus told believers to welcome Him. But Paul said “be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” Is that correct? Did the Lord Jesus ever say that when He returned, He’d take believers up to meet Him in the air? He didn’t. Is there testimony of this from the Holy Spirit? There isn’t. Could Paul speak on behalf of the Lord Jesus on this? Did the Lord acknowledge that? No. The way that the Lord raptures up believers is arranged by God. The Lord Jesus said, “But of that day and that hour knows no man, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). Paul was a human being, just an apostle, so how could he know how the Lord raptures believers? What Paul said was entirely based on his own imagination and didn’t represent the Lord. We certainly can’t base how we welcome the Lord on this. We need to follow the Lord Jesus’ words on how He returns and raptures believers in the last days, because He is Christ, the Lord of the kingdom, and only His words are the truth and have authority. Welcoming the Lord in accordance with His words cannot be wrong. Let’s take a look at what the Lord Jesus said. The Lord Jesus said, “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27). “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes” (Matthew 24:44). “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). “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). We can see that in His prophecies about His return, the Lord always mentioned “the Son of man,” “the coming of the Son of man,” “the Son of man comes,” “hear My voice, and open the door,” and “My sheep hear My voice.” These key statements are telling us that the Lord returns in the flesh as the Son of man, coming to earth to speak, to knock on our door. Those who hear the Lord’s voice and open the door are the wise virgins who welcome the Lord and attend His feast. They are raptured up before the Lord. The Lord Jesus never said He’d take people up to meet with Him in the sky, but He told people to listen for His voice to welcome Him, come before Him, and attend His feast. To welcome the Lord and meet Him, we have to follow His words and hear God’s voice. As soon as we hear someone call that the Bridegroom is coming, we must go out to meet Him, not foolishly wait to be taken into the sky based on our own imaginings. If we do, we’ll never get to hear the Lord’s voice and welcome Him. The Lord returns as the Son of man and comes among us, speaking to us, so if we’re just waiting to be taken into the sky, we’re on a different path from the Lord. So, people’s belief that they’ll be caught up to meet with the Lord in the sky just doesn’t hold water. It goes entirely against God’s own words and is nothing but a human notion. So what is truly being raptured? Almighty God’s words clarify this for us. Almighty God says, “‘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). “Since we are searching for the footprints of God, it behooves us to search for God’s will, for the words of God, for His utterances—because wherever there are new words spoken by God, the voice of God is there, and wherever there are the footsteps of God, God’s deeds are there. Wherever there is the expression of God, there God appears, and wherever God appears, there the truth, the way, and the life exist” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Appearance of God Has Ushered in a New Age). This makes it all easier to understand, right? “Rapture” isn’t what we think, being taken from a low to a high place, from the earth into the sky. It’s not so vague and supernatural. “Rapture” happens when God incarnates as the Son of man on earth to speak and work, we hear His utterances, recognize this as the truth and God’s voice, then can submit to and accept God’s work. We eat and drink God’s words, we’re personally watered and nurtured by Him, and we receive God’s salvation. This is being raptured up before God. When the Lord Jesus came to do His redemption work, all those who recognized His words as God’s voice, then accepted and followed Him, like Peter, John, and the other disciples, were all raptured up before God. Almighty God has come in the last days and is expressing truths, doing the judgment work. People from all denominations who love the truth and long for God’s appearance, seeing that Almighty God’s words are the truth and the voice of God, have accepted His work of judgment. They eat and drink God’s words every day, are watered and sustained by them, and experience God’s judgment and cleansing. They are the wise virgins raptured up before God, and attend the Lamb’s wedding feast, which entirely fulfills the prophecy in Revelation: “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).
Now I think we’re all clear on what it means to be raptured. Thinking now about the idea of meeting with the Lord in the sky, isn’t it unrealistic and foolish? The Lord Jesus prophesied multiple times “the coming of the Son of man,” warning man time and again to listen for His voice. So why do people insist on going by man’s words to welcome Him, instead of His own words? Why do they cling to the absurd statement, “be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air”? What kind of problem is this? Doesn’t it point to being too eager for blessings? Isn’t it because they want to be taken straight up into God’s kingdom away from the disasters, where they’ll bask in blessings? Let’s think about it. Could those who are forgiven of sins, but still constantly sin be raptured into the kingdom when the Lord comes? Do they have the right to enjoy its blessings? It’s true that the Lord redeemed us of sin, but we can’t deny that we’re still controlled by our sinful nature, and can’t help but sin and resist God. We haven’t escaped sin’s bonds and achieved purity. God is holy and righteous. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). So could people saturated with filth and corruption get into His kingdom? Isn’t that a human fantasy, just wishful thinking? Almighty God says, “You only know that Jesus shall descend during the last days, but how exactly will He descend? A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but you have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning Appellations and Identity). “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” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). The Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, which was just to redeem people and forgive us of sin, but our sinful nature remains. We keep rebelling against God and haven’t been fully saved. Only having our sins forgiven by the Lord Jesus isn’t enough. We still have to welcome the Lord and be raptured up before Him, accept His judgment in the last days, and then we can be freed from sin and fully saved, becoming people who submit to and fear God. Then we can enter His kingdom. Almighty God comes in the last days expressing truths and doing the work of judgment on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption work. This is to fully resolve man’s sinful nature and corrupt disposition, so we can be freed from sin and Satan’s forces, and be fully saved by God. Almighty God has appeared and expressed so many truths, telling us everything we need as corrupt humans to be cleansed and fully saved. He’s revealed the mysteries of God’s management plan, such as God’s aim in managing mankind, how Satan corrupts mankind, how God’s three stages of work fully save man, the meaning of His last days’ judgment work, mysteries of the incarnations and God’s names, every type of person’s outcome and destination, and the beauty of the kingdom. These words are incredibly eye-opening and utterly convincing. Almighty God also judges and exposes the root of man’s sin and resistance to God, which is our satanic nature and disposition. He also exposes the truth of how deeply corrupted by Satan we are, and shows us the path to escape corruption and be fully saved. God’s chosen people eat, drink, and enjoy God’s words every day. We are judged, chastised, dealt with and pruned by His words, and experience all sorts of trials, we learn many truths and come to truly know our satanic nature. We see that we’re always living within corruption, rebelling against God and disgusting Him, and that we’ll be eliminated and punished by God if we don’t repent and change. We experience God’s righteous, unoffendable disposition and develop reverence for Him. Our corruption is gradually cleansed and changed, and we can finally escape the bonds of sin and bear wonderful witness for God. God has already completed a group of overcomers before the disasters, and the disasters are coming. All those who reject and resist Almighty God, and those who belong to Satan will be destroyed in the disasters. Those who experience God’s judgment and are cleansed will receive God’s protection through the disasters, be taken into His kingdom, and will have a beautiful destination. This is truly being raptured into God’s kingdom. These overcomers who are fully saved and completed by God are those who practice God’s words and do His will on earth. They are the people of God’s kingdom. This is how Christ’s kingdom is realized on the earth, and this fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecy: “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). “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” (Revelation 21:2–4). “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Almighty God says, “Once the work of conquest has been completed, man will be brought into a beautiful world. This life will, of course, still be on earth, but it will be totally unlike man’s life today. It is the life that mankind will have after the whole of mankind has been conquered, it will be a new beginning for man on earth, and for mankind to have such a life will be proof that mankind has entered a new and beautiful realm. It will be the beginning of the life of man and God on earth. The premise of such a beautiful life must be that, after man has been purified and conquered, he submits before the Creator. And so, the work of conquest is the last stage of God’s work before mankind enters the wonderful destination. Such a life is man’s future life on earth, the most beautiful life on earth, the kind of life that man longs for, the kind that man has never before achieved in the history of the world. It is the final outcome of the 6,000 years of work of management; it is what mankind yearns for most, and it is also God’s promise to man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination).
“When humans have been restored to their original likeness, and when they can fulfill their respective duties, keep to their own proper places and submit to all of God’s arrangements, God will have obtained a group of people upon the earth who worship Him, and He will also have established a kingdom upon the earth that worships Him. He will have eternal victory upon the earth, and all those who are opposed to Him will perish for all eternity. This will restore His original intention in creating humanity; it will restore His intention in creating all things, and it will also restore His authority upon earth, among all things, and among His enemies. These will be the symbols of His total victory. Thenceforth, humanity will enter into rest and begin a life that is on the right track. God will also enter into eternal rest with humanity, and commence an eternal life shared by both Himself and humans. The filth and disobedience upon the earth will have disappeared, and all the wailing will have dissipated, and everything in this world that opposes God will have ceased to exist. Only God and those people to whom He has brought salvation will remain; only His creation will remain” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together).
At this point, we have a full understanding of what truly being raptured is. Being raptured is mainly about hearing God’s voice, following His footsteps, and turning toward Almighty God, accepting God’s judgment work of the last days. Why hasn’t the religious world experienced rapture before the disasters? Mainly because they don’t seek the truth or hear God’s voice, but insist on their notions and literal Bible verses. They only listen to man’s words, but don’t welcome the Lord according to His words. This is why they’ve fallen into the disasters. People just want to wait for the Lord to come on a cloud, and wish to instantly change form and be taken into the sky to meet with Him, so they just passively wait without preparing themselves or seeking to hear God’s voice. Their hearts are numb. How could they welcome the Lord this way? They’ll fall into the disasters, weeping and gnashing their teeth. Almighty God’s been doing His judgment work for three decades now. He completed a group of overcomers before the disasters, and now the disasters are coming. Those who hear God’s voice and welcome the Lord in the disasters still have a chance at rapture. This is being raptured in the midst of the disasters, and they have hope of being kept. Those who go by their notions, insisting that the Lord has to come on a cloud, will fall into the disasters and cannot be saved. Once the disasters are over, God will openly appear to all nations and all peoples, fulfilling the prophecy of Revelation 1:7, “Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” There are a couple passages of Almighty God’s words we can conclude with. “Many people may not care what I say, but I still want to tell every so-called saint who follows Jesus that, when you see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud with your own eyes, this will be the public appearance of the Sun of righteousness. Perhaps that will be a time of great excitement for you, yet you should know that the time when you witness Jesus descend from the heaven is also the time when you go down to hell to be punished. That will be the time of the end of God’s management plan and it will be when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. For the judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth. Those who accept the truth and do not seek signs, and thus have been purified, shall have returned before the throne of God and entered the Creator’s embrace. Only those who persist in the belief that ‘The Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is a false Christ’ shall be subjected to everlasting punishment, for they only believe in the Jesus who exhibits signs, but do not acknowledge the Jesus who proclaims severe judgment and releases the true way and life. And so it can only be that Jesus deals with them when He openly returns upon a white cloud. They are too stubborn, too confident in themselves, too arrogant. How could such degenerates be rewarded by Jesus? The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew).
“Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life nor gain the perpetual way of life. This is because all they have is turbid water which has been clung to for thousands of years instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit passively awaiting destruction, clinging to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands are letters that can provide but temporary solace, not truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read can only enrich your tongue and are not words of philosophy that can help you know human life, much less the paths that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not make you realize the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming and look at who is working now—look to see who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life).
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