Posts tagged ‘Rapture’

May 27, 2011

Some Reading For The Rapture That Wasn’t

by Vince

Hearts and Minds has some great ones. Money quote (but there are so many to pick when reading their stuff!):

I think we have regrets about the weekend End fiasco because, as Gabe Lyons nicely put it on Good Morning America, this stuff distracts us from our real purpose and work, from being busy serving God and neighbor.  Some evangelicals (although actually fewer than you might think, I’d say) have allowed end-times speculations, bizarre interpretation of Daniel and Revelation, and weird methods of counting of numbers and names in the Bible to determine who the anti-Christ might be, to distract them from serious missional engagement.  I hate to sound snide about it–and I pray that I do not–but sometimes when well-meaning customers come in the story asking for books of “prophecy” (like is American in the ends times, a la John Haggee, say) I direct them to Haggai commentaries.  Spend some time with Amos or Habakkuk, I sometimes suggest, if you want prophecy. Eugene Peterson’s wonderful and slightly revised Run With the Horses(IVP; $15.00) is a fabulously rich and easy-to-read set of meditations on Jeremiah.   God’s prophets spoke into their times, calling for social reform and holiness and justice and cultural repentance, they didn’t just invite people to try to predict the future. How can we help folks get that?

May 26, 2011

“People are more interested in Apocalypse Now than the Holy Ghost”

by Vince

So said Bob Dylan in April of 1980:



Dear Steve —

We are up in Toronto singing and playing for about 3000 people a night in a downtown theatre — the Spirit of the Lord is calling people here in this beautiful and clean city but they are more interested in lining up for Apocalypse Now than to be baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost —

Wanna thank you for that Bible as it is helpful in discerning a few phrases from and shedding some light on what the King James version reads —

God will lift up your head as you begin to realize that “… He thru Christ has reconsiled man unto Himself” (II Corinthians) You are in basic training and bootcamp and I thank God you are and your commitment runs deep and you will be used to minister and break the hold of darkness on those you become face to face with — “Study to show thyself approved”

You will be strong in the land and seeing that looks are deceiving, you will work miracles that way — He has called you to be a saint and your responsibility is to Him and Him alone —

Be praying and not look back no more — press on toward what is ahead — I send love to you and will pray for strength and more strength for you — Always

In the name of Jesus Christ
Son of God, manifest in the flesh

Bob Dylan

May 25, 2011

The Rapture and Religious Faith

by Vince

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).

May 23, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

May 22, 2011

Rapture Wrap: Anti-Smugness and Secular Rapturists

by Vince

Some interesting reads just came my way in regards to the rapture.

Would any secular person be a believer in the apocalypse? Yes:

But a person does not have to be a hard-core believer to sense that things like the environment, the economy, and the political system are appallingly broken. From there, it is only a short step to the view that the entire system is verging on a catastrophic collapse or must be completely swept away, or that any solution to these problems requires something outside normal human agency, such as an idealized or divinized form of humanity, a mysterious, hidden-hand “force” or “law” (such as the “forces” of history or the market), or a human figure of whom extraordinary deeds are expected. This is the “Daddy” complex: a belief in or need for something or someone greater than ourselves, who will solve our problems for us.

Also, Andrew Sullivan doesn’t agree with the smug mentality towards those unfortunately taken advantage of by Harold Camping:

Laughing at religious fanatics is nothing new. And, at some level, there’s nothing wrong with it. But this story didn’t just take off in popularity because people wanted a quick laugh or some insight into a quirky subset of our country. There’s a cruelty underlying our desire to laugh at this story—a desire to see people humiliated and to revel in our own superiority and rationality—even though the people in question are pretty tragic characters, who either have serious problems themselves or perhaps are being taken advantage of, or both.

I agree on two points. There has been something a little smug about how eager so many are to humiliate the end-timers; and there is a poignancy in the evangelical nuttery. But to ask a country not to laugh at such idiocies seems more than a little quixotic to me. And the Rapture nutters are not orthodox Christians – but rather Book of Revelations crackpots. They are not examples of religious faith but of marginal nutballism. Such nutballism begs to be made fun of.

(Pictured: James Warren Jones, known as cult leader Jim Jones).

May 22, 2011

Failed Rapture Details

by Vince

All of them and more here.

May 21, 2011

Rapture Reads

by Vince

If the image is blurry, click on it to enlarge it.

This is also a fun read: talking to Tim Lahaye (author of the Left Behind series) about the rapture.

May 18, 2011

Rapture Guidelines / FAQ

by Vince

Just in case:

As you probably already know, a worldwide earthquake will strike at 6 p.m. (local time) Saturday, May 21, alerting the human race that Judgment Day has begun. Or so says Family Radio president Harold Camping.

Camping is very certain that the Rapture will occur.

“There’s nothing in the Bible that holds a candle to the amount of information to this tremendous truth of the end of the world,” he told New York Magazine. “I would be absolutely in rebellion against God if I thought anything other than it is absolutely going to happen without any question.”

Not everyone is as informed about Judgment Day as Camping, of course. With that in mind, here are a few answers to frequently asked questions about the End of Days:

Q: Who gets to ascend to heaven?
A: Those who accept Christ as the messiah. Even Jews are invited, says Camping, but only if they accept Christ – which would seem to make them no longer Jewish.

Q: How many will be Raptured?
A: Campbell estimates 200 million. The remaining nearly 7 billion face a grisly fate – crushed in the quake, burned by sulfur, turned into pillars of salt, etc.

Q: Why May 21?
A: Camping calculates May 21 is exactly 7,000 years from the date of the Noah’s Ark flood. In his book “Time Has an End,” Camping writes. “The year 391 B.C. is the year when the Old Testament was finished, and 2,011 + 391 – 1 = 2,401, or 7 x 7 x 7 x 7.” There you have it.

Q: Any other reason?
A: Yes. Gay Pride and same-sex marriage. Camping says God will punish America and the rest of the world for Gay Pride and same-sex marriages, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were punished with fire and brimstone in the Old Testament.

Q: Will the Earth end on May 21?
A: No. The Earth will stick around for a few more months of “chaos and awful suffering” before being obliterated Oct. 21.

Q: Didn’t Camping predict the end of the world would take place in September 1994?
A: Yes, but the book in which he made the prediction was titled “1994?”. The question mark makes all the difference.

Q: Will the Rapture happen sooner in Australia, like New Year’s celebrations?

A: Yes. May 21st begins first on Kiritimati Island, a Pacific Ocean atoll, so presumably the earthquake would strike there first.

Q: If I’m Raptured, what will happen to my pets? 
A: Probably nothing good. However, a business called Eternal Earthbound Pets run by “confirmed atheists” offers to save pets left behind and ensure their care in 26 states. It lists a fee of $135 for a single pet ($20 each for additional pets), but has raised rates due to “increased activity associated with the May 21, 2011 Rapture.” Pets are limited to dogs, cats, birds rabbits and small caged mammals in most states. Four states can accommodate horses, camels, llamas and donkeys.

Q: Are exploding watermelons in China a sign?
A: Yes.

May 17, 2011

End of World Buzz

by Vince

I heard it mentioned last night at the library, today in school, and am seeing an uptick in volume to my blog in regards to the world ending this Saturday. I just want to see what these people’s website reads on Sunday.

November 1, 2010

“…blow the trumpet…warn the people!”

by Vince

Because taken out of context, Ezekiel says that our world will end on May 21st, 2011.

I saw this website’s billboard in PA farm country this weekend. Unreal. I never would of pegged the Keystone state to have such fanaticism within its borders.