Any day now…really! (The Rapture)

“The Rapture” is one of the most often used fear tactics used by Christian believers in order to scare unbelievers into repentance. You see, the way some people interpret the Bible there will be a point in time when Jesus calls up all the living and dead believers to heaven, they call this event the Rapture (The term itself does not appear in the Bible). Now, there are many different beliefs as to when this is supposed to happen, there are Pre-tribulation believers that believe that it will occur prior to the 7 year Tribulation prophesied in the Book of Daniel as well as post-trib and mid-trib and even more theories/beliefs that I can’t remember from my Christian days.

The problem with this whole “Rapture” deal is that it has supposed to have been coming soon…2000 years ago. In fact Jesus said that he would come back before some of the disciples died in Matthew 16: 27-28.  Clearly Jesus was either confused or wrong. So why is it, after all these years, people still trust that this man is God and is coming back to earth for them? Some people go so far as to predict the date or time frame of this glorious event:

  • This Site has gone so far as to predict that the actual rapture will occur this Fall of 2009(Just a few days ago they said it would happen today, Wednesday November 11th 2009 but they changed it earlier today). The site includes plenty of warnings to repent, lots of fear mongering here
  • Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins wrote the wildly popular Left Behind series of fiction books to explain how they believed eschatology would play out  in the near future, including the rapture where all the Christians disappear randomly leaving behind their neatly folded clothes – Kirk Cameron even starred in two movies based on the book series a few years ago.
  • Video’s have been passed around among the Tea Party elite (and other groups of fundamentalist/Republican half-wits) that claim to prove that President Barack Obama is the Anti-christ, which means that the rapture must be coming soon. Here’s one such video (don’t laugh too hard, people actually believe this stuff): Click for video.

It’s a sad reality, really, that people are living as if Jesus will show up in the clouds tomorrow especially after 2000 years of fruitless anticipation and preparation.  These types of claims should be met with the same skeptical eye as any other unsubstantiated claim and utterly rejected  in the likely event that they turn out to be just another control mechanism of faith.

One more thing…if the Rapture does happen, can you imagine how wonderful our world would be? All that superstition just floating away with Jesus in the clouds? I can’t wait!

  • Justin Piper

    Matthew 16:27-28 (King James Version)

    27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

    28Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

    A. These verses speak nothing of rapture, The son of man aka, Christ, will not reign according to Christian faith nor the bible until after the tribulation period not during rapture.

    B. The verses quoted say that before the group of men, Jesus was speaking to, would all die before some atleast one of them would SEE the Christ coming in in His kingdom. Which John, not John the Baptist, the man who wrote the book of Revaltaions after seeing a vison which in He saw the Coming of Christ into His kingdom amongst other things that he saw would happen in the end times.

    C. Rapture is a word coined later on but it’s context comes from Thessalonians
    1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
    For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

    Therefore the meeting in the air which the dead and alive in Christ shall rise is called the rapture.

    And according to Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” So no man where they be athiest or Christian, Mayan nor Nostradamus himself be able to predict the date and time.

    So yes us Christians too await the day when you no longer have to put up with us either, in the mean time we’ll just have to deal with each other.

    • Matt

      Justin,

      A: One is the precursor to the other, due to their relation to one another I am keeping the context well enough.

      B: Logical fallacy based on your assumption that the Bible is true, since Jesus said they would SEE him and none of them physically saw him coming back in a literal sense then it MUST have meant something else because the Bible couldn’t possibly be wrong. I find it to be quite a stretch. Also, don’t forget, John the Revelator has never been definitively identified as either John the Baptist nor the Apostle John (whom was present at the ascension)…to assume that he was present is begging the question in my opinion.

      C: No disagreements, thanks for providing the Thessalonians context

      btw, I’m only kidding about the putting up with you folks thing…a large chunk of you are more than tolerable. Likable even.

  • From my understanding the rapture is a completely modern concept applied to the idea of christ’s return. It was really brought into more mainstream theology under the reign of Larry Norman and the great biblical interpreter Hal Lindsay who believed it was going to happen in the eighties.

    The rapture really had a lucrative industry for a while it seemed – what with the first few years of our current age of fear.

    Demeaning that site really is like a pushing a cripple down the stairs though. Goddammit, it looks like a twelve year old who discovered one of those plug-and-play web design programs, but no they’re simply too old to realize no one is ever going to take them seriously without a proper marketing strategy.

  • I have often wondered if Jesus was speaking of a more metaphorical/spirtual death as opposed to a physical one in Matt 16:27-28. Because I agree that it would be absurd of him to say that he was coming back before some of the disciples would physically die(unless one believes some of the apostles are still walking around somewhere today lol).

    The bible talks about death in many places, it was the first punishment God decreed for sin in Gen 2:17 and that obviously wasnt a physical death that God was referring to, since adam supposedly lived another 900 years or whatever. the word translated as death in matt 16 is “thanatos” and that is the same word that paul uses in romans 6:23, which is again talking more about a spirtual death/punishment as opposed to physical.

    All this to say that Jesus could have been saying some of them would not taste of the coming punishment. Whether this is the case or not, I dont really know. its just a thought I had.

  • Jon

    SavageSoto wrote:
    “…it would be absurd of him to say that he was coming back before some of the disciples would physically die.”

    But the spiritual death of Gen 2:17 is something we are all (including the disciples) born in to. That’s what being born again is about, overcoming this spiritual death. You are suggesting that Jesus told his disciples they would not experience (re-experience, actually) the spiritual death they were born experiencing before he returned. You mean to say that Jesus was promising the salvation of some of them would not be undone before he returned? If this is the correct interpretation then Jesus was also saying that the salvation of many or most of the disciples would be undone before he returned (because they would have to spiritually die again!). I don’t see how any of this makes sense. I think Jesus was talking about biological death.

  • This post makes me think of two funny things.

    1. It would have been funny if no Christians responded because they had been raptured.

    2. This: http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/66125/detail/

  • Matt

    @ Mike – that had to have been the cruelest prank ever.

  • that video is fucking great!

  • Waiting for 2,000 years?
    More like 200 years.
    Because that’s how long the idea has been around.
    You’re pretty much attacking American Christianity and the Darby Study Bible.

    C’mon Rev, you know better.

  • “death” is what we are born into but its also related to the punishment here after. “for the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eonion life” Romans 6:23. And in revelations 21:8 the lake of fire is refered to as the second DEATH. Im not trying to build a dogma here but it makes more sense to me than Jesus saying some of them wont die before he returns, yet their all obviously either dead or thousands of years old. Which do you find more likely?

  • @Matt

    Yeah, I would have never pulled the prank, though I do find it funny.

  • Rapture or no rapture…

    What does it matter?

  • The whole idea of the rapture sounds worse than witches flying on broomsticks. But hey, if they want to live in a fantasy world, why not let them? Seriously, though, it is one of the oddest beliefs around in the world of Christianity, aside from the whole Blood and Body of Christ thing that I don’t even want to get into.

    Mike, loved the vid. If I could pull it off on a few of my friends and family, I sure would.

  • I do not have a Bible in hand, but wanted to jump in here with the rest of use-guys; getin in a comment… I wana be one of them people what participates in a thing known as {FREE SPEECH..} In order for (IT) to take place, I’ll need a good many of ya’ll to perk up your ears real good now and take in a good hear. This will be for the ones of you who have ears to hear. He who hath an ear to hear? Now- let him hear! Seems to me I remember Holy scriptures sayin that we were to comfort one another with these sayings…. Reminding one another- of the Day we fly away!
    Just think of it? Piles of clothes and shoes and things and such; laying hither and yond…I reckon some places will have a lot more trash staked up than other places..”Ha!” Trash? You say.. Yeah! Cause these threads we have on? Man, compared to what our body shapes
    are gonna be like when we leave outa here? We’ll probably go with nothin on!!!! Weugh..
    Am I not lookin so forward to that part of it? I’m not. I don’t like the idea of going on off roller coasting around all over these spacious skies- – – WITH NOTHIN ON!! And being as bare as a baby’s bottom….Noooh Noh!
    But wait a minute.. If I remember correctly; the WORD says that this life is but a vapor..
    Its here today and gone tomarrow.. When this here Rapture comes a swooping down upon me; you know, that in a twinkling of an eye- I just may have a body without a form!
    I may be like the guy that played in the T.V. series called The Invisible Man. If that’s the case- then yeah! I wouldn’t mind flyin on out of here, in grand style, WITH NOTHIN ON!!! Will it be day or night on your side of the planet when the trump gives the sound?

  • Guy Vestal

    Poke…

    WoW!

    That was the worst twisting of Matthew 16:27-28 I have ever seen! Nice try, but waaaayyyy off…

    Ya wanna discuss this in more detail, since I am “Trolling” around the site answering posts? Or should I just continue waiting on the new post? Some inspiration here maybe? I know you sometimes need a poke or prod, or both, to get back on a roll…

    Prod…

  • Jay

    You may not ever see this comment, but I would encourage you to research this topic deeper. What pop culture Christianity (and even non-Christian TV shows like Family Guy and American Dad!) presents as "the rapture" is not necessarily what is written in the Bible. There are many scholars who analyze the text and the original Greek and Hebrew languages that have much different and much more rational/logical thinking when it comes to the rapture and the book of Revelation (especially concerning topics such as "endtimes," "the ant-Christ(s)," and "666"). It is not at all like the Left Behind series, and there are some passages that are more likely referencing the fall of the Jerusalem Temple in 70AD than the end of the world. Though I will admit that if you do not believe the Bible to be true then there are some things that will seem illogical, such as Thessalonians 4.

    I would also like to say that it has been a very eye-opening and humbling morning reading your blog. I completely agree that it is important to explore and doubt and seek… if truth is absolute then feelings are by no means evidence.

    • I’m actually fairly familiar with the various theories and doctrinal differences surrounding the Christian interpretation of the rapture… I’ve studied at length the post-trib, pretrib, pre-mil, post-mil etc…I was merely speaking to the expectations of the people this post is about.

      Thanks for the comment