What is the True Meaning of Rapture?
One may ask: 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 should this verse be interpreted? How will the verse concerning believers being raptured in the last days be fulfilled?
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, carrying out 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 addition, the Lord Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). Speaking of “Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” it means that man’s future destination is not in heaven but on earth. That is to say, man still lives on earth when the kingdom of God descends. Revelation 21: 2–3 says, “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.” 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.” These prophecies address that, “The tabernacle of God is with men,” “new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,” “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.” All these words indicate that man’s final destination is that mankind will still live on earth rather than be taken into heaven as we imagined. If rapture means to be taken to heaven as man understands, then were not these prophecies spoken in vain?
In fact, since God began to manage and save mankind after man was created by God and corrupted by Satan, God’s work of saving man has always been carried out on earth and man has always been living on earth. Finally, God’s will is going to be carried out on earth and His kingdom will be realized among men. So man’s destination is not in heaven but upon the earth, which is the ordination of God.
Almighty God says: “God has God’s destination, and man has man’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth. While in God’s light, man will worship the one true God in heaven. … 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. … 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…. After God and man enter into rest, Satan will no longer exist, and like Satan, those wicked people will also no longer exist. Before God and man enter into rest, those wicked individuals who once persecuted God upon earth and the enemies who were disobedient to Him upon earth will have already been destroyed; they will have been destroyed by the great disasters of the last days” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, we know God’s place of rest is in heaven, while man’s place of rest is still on earth. They will enjoy the life that is akin to that in heaven. It is exactly the harmonious and beautiful life that God has prepared for man and is precisely God’s ultimate accomplishment.
Since man still lives on earth after being completely saved, what exactly does rapture refer to? Actually, as for the mystery of rapture, Almighty God has already revealed it to us. God’s words say: “‘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 predetermining and selecting. It is targeted at all those I have preordained and chosen. … Anyone who has 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 My counterattack against Satan. Anyone I preordained shall be caught up before Me” (“The One Hundred and Fourth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
It turns out that the true meaning of being raptured is keeping pace with the steps of God’s work and accepting the new work of God during the last days. In the Age of Law, man believed in Jehovah God and abode by the laws and commandments. When the Lord Jesus came to do the work of redemption, man could walk out of the law, follow the Lord Jesus’ work and gain His redemption. This was called being raptured. Today, the Savior Jesus has returned. He is Almighty God who is incarnated to express His words to save man completely. If man walks out of the Age of Grace and follows God’s new work, he will get purified fully and be taken to a wonderful destination by God. This also constitutes being raptured.
Today, Almighty God’s gospel of kingdom has spread to the entire universe. Most of the brothers and sisters who truly believe in God in all denominations and sects have recognized God’s voice and followed His footsteps after hearing His utterances. They have been raptured before God’s throne and enjoyed the watering and provision of God’s words to their heart’s content. People don’t need to desperately await anymore because of God’s arrival. God’s chosen people are no longer weak or negative, but live in the light of God’s countenance again, enjoying a happy life with God’s personal guidance and shepherding. It is the new life of being raptured, isn’t it?