Today as I write it is May 21, 2011.
Harold Camping the founder of the Family Radio Network and on air bible expert, predicted with 100% certainty that rapture would occur at 6pm (your local time) today.
He based his conclusions on a Rube Goldberg style of mathematical formulations that enabled him to precisely name the hour and time of this event...for a second time in 17 years.
Assuming that he wasn't off by a couple of hours or days and we are all going to be here for a while yet, I would like to share some of my thoughts about the rapture.
When I first heard preachers speak of the rapture I was not convinced that it was as they said. I listened to many arguments on the when, how and whys by some intelligent, scholarly and insightful men of God. I finally came around to their reasoning and believed that this event may occur the way they described.
As time went by there would be an occasional prediction by someone that the rapture was about to occur. I always groaned when someone made a prediction because I knew of the inevitable jokes and ridicule that Christianity in general would receive because of them.
Still I kept the faith and waited for that glorious day.
One day I received a free copy of "Left Behind" by Tim LaHaye. I was able to read the whole book while sitting in our county courthouse waiting to be called for jury duty. (The case was settled and we weren't needed.)
A few months later on T.V. the local christian station was playing the "Left Behind" movie starring Kirk Cameron. I stuck with the movie until halfway through the rapture scene. It just struck me as absurd. (At least the way it was presented in this movie.) Half the people were vanishing from airplanes, buses, cars or while walking down the street. And all that was left were they stood was a little pile of their clothes. This was a turning point for me. Little piles of their clothes!
Could not God who could take mortal flesh and transform it to immortal and do this with millions of folks at the same time do something with their clothes! Turn polyester into cotton robes or just burn them up...anything but the way this movie portrayed it!
Christian movies are often under funded and low budget so I guess it's not their fault.
The truth is it didn't take a whole lot to shake my belief in the common image of what the rapture will be like.
I believe there will be a rapture. It says in the bible at the last trump the dead in Christ will rise first and then the living to join Christ in the air. But this happens at the last trump...at the very end of the age.
I'm aware of the argument that God wouldn't raise us to meet us in the air and then just turn us around to come back to earth with Him. I know there is supposed to be the Great Marriage Feast of The Lamb.But this argument ignores the nature of God. He lives outside of space and time. Time is of this physical universe. When we join him in that dimension were those whose nature is made of spirit live time will not exist. We could be with Him for what in this world would seem like a thousand years and return to a moment that was only minutes after we rose.
I also wonder why people think that of all the generations of believers that have been martyred through the ages, this generation deserves to escape any test or trial. In the U.S.A. if we can't have a bible club meet in the local school we think we're being persecuted. Meanwhile in other parts of the world Christians are being put to death for their faith. Could it be that not having a rapture before the Antichrist comes to power could cause folks to loose their faith? Could this be the great falling away the bible speaks of?
I think believers are going to be tested. I don't look forward to it and I admit I hope I won't have to endure it. It could be that before the rapture occurs that there will be so few Christians left that no one will notice when they're gone.
But unlike Mr. Camping or others who make predictions and I will admit.. I could be wrong.
In the end it doesn't matter when the rapture does or doesn't occur. Any day could be your last day on earth and you could find yourself facing God.
Try to live your life so you'll be unashamed and ready.