Andrew Sullivan has some amazing readers. They write to him in legions and include great thoughts. One of his threads gets to the point of asking this: is it nuttier to predict the date of the Rapture or to actually believe it will happen one day? You could even add on to the latter the belief that a man was revived back to life after three days of being dead.
To clarify, there is a difference between the literalist-factual camp of belief and the metaphorical-historical camp. Marcus Borg, a Jesus scholar, would fall in the latter category and his work is worth reading (and is highly accessible) if you want to parse this subject.
I believe that there is far less Biblical support for the Rapture than for Jesus’ resurrection. The multiple gospels speak well of the resurrection while the book of Daniel, Ezekiel, pocket verses from the Epistles, and the book of Revelations are questionable sources for those looking for literal answers.
Also, the prediction of the day when the Rapture will happen has dated back to at least before 1000 A.D. I myself see little point in predicting a date and am similar to Sullivan in that I question if a sudden apocalypse as we’ve come to think of it will really happen.
I am, however, a skeptic of the end-times altogether. Partly because I don’t believe that salvation has such a temporal quality. It is outside of time, as God is. That makes me a heretic in one respect.
Of all people, Harold Camping sums up this point quite well:
Radio evangelist Harold Camping said in a special broadcast Monday night on his radio program Open Forum that his predicted May 21, 2011 Rapture was “an invisible judgment day“ that he has come to understand as a spiritual, rather than physical event. “We had all of our dates correct,” Camping insisted, clarifying that he now understands that Christ’s May 21 arrival was “a spiritual coming” ushering in the last five months before the final judgment and destruction.
If you think about it, how often does Jesus “come again” into our lives? How often does He return, rise again, and bring new life into our beings? We can debate forever on whether the Rapture will happen or the exact date of it. What if we changed gears and got past the back and forth debate and asked: what does this actually means for us today? I would think those living in the early church would have little to take from this subject if they knew the world was going to end on some distant day or if the book of Ezekiel was speaking 2000 years into the future about present day Russia.
God intends to meet us in our lives, here and now, and of course still has some plan for the future. Thinking of the future is fine until it gets out of control and fabricated (Left Behind series).