Getting Ready for the Rapture NOT

2011/05/end_world_600.jpg Photo ©Copyright/Courtesty of End of the World as we Know it

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the news: the Rapture is scheduled for May 21, 2011, at 6:00 pm. Apparently, a massive earthquake will start the grand event, beginning in Fiji and New Zealand at the scheduled time. It is not clear then if the Rapture will happen in America or in Fiji on May 21st, because May 21st in America at 6:00 p.m. is actually May 22nd in Fiji. Minor detail though.

According to the leader of this movement, Harold Camping, only “true believers” will be saved in the Rapture, and of the seven billion people worldwide, there won’t be enough left alive to bury the dead, starting on this date. Apparently Camping believes that the Rapture will begin a series of catastrophic events that will culminate in the end of the world and Judgment Day on October 21, 2011.

In all this bad news, there are some brighter moments. For one, if you should happen to be raptured away, there is an organization that will care for your beloved pets left behind. Eternal Earth-Bound Pets USA (tag line: The next best thing to pet salvation in a Post Rapture World) are a group of dedicated and loving atheists who will rescue and take care of your pets for only $125 for the first pet and $20 for each additional pet.

The idea of a “secret rapture” was first introduced in 1738 by Philip Doddridge but didn’t become a popular teaching until the 1800s when, according to Wikipedia, it was taught by John Darby and Matthew Henry, two Bible scholars. It’s called a “secret rapture” for a reason. Apparently it was even a secret to the writer’s of the NT because they never used the word “rapture.” But thanks to the popular Left Behind series, as well as movies like, A Thief in the Night, many people today know exactly what the Rapture is, who it is for, and have developed terrifying fears of being left to face the antichrist in an apocalyptic nightmare on earth.

I’ll be the first to admit, our world is in pretty bad shape. Some economic forecasters say we may be headed toward financial collapse worldwide, as well as catastrophic famine. I don’t mean to undermine such grievous impending doom and I think there’s definitely merit to it in light of the world economic situation. However, I’d like to also state that I no longer believe in a Rapture, as was ingrained in me to believe since I was a kid, and I think this Rapture Theology is very off-base and damaging to the cause of Christianity.

Why no rapture? The entire teaching is built solely upon a couple of vague passages in the New Testament, namely 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Matthew 24:40–41, both of which can easily be debunked and which contradict many other passages that give a different, clearer picture of the start of the next phase of the Kingdom taking place on a renewed, glorious earth full of uncorrupted justice and a new order of love and light shining on all mankind.

The Rapture theory is a serious undermining of what God is up to on earth, suggesting that we all abandon project and leave most of God’s creation to complete, unresolved destruction. This is completely counter to God’s clear theme throughout the Bible of the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21).

Though I don’t have time to develop such a lengthy teaching in this post, let me just conclude by saying that I don’t think we are going off to heaven, I think we bring heaven here (see Isaiah 65). Having said that, I definitely believe in a resurrection—a reviving and renewing process whereby people are changed into imperishable, glorious versions of themselves. Sort of like a [your name] 2.0.

As to the impending Rapture, I’m pretty sure I’m still going to be right here come May 22. My cats seem pretty relieved about that too! And hey, if I’m wrong, you can have my car…as long as you take care of my cats.

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  • "…..clearer picture of the start of the next phase of the Kingdom taking place on a renewed, glorious earth….." what do you think of these scriptures? Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13Revelation 21:1

    • jferwerd

      I have spent a lot of time studying all this out. New doesn't necessarily mean out of a different substance. There is much evidence of us being on this same earth in a "new state." As an example of "new," it is used in 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creature ; the old things passed away ; behold, NEW things have come." Same Greek word as the other NT verses you quoted. This doesn't mean God scraps me and starts over, He creates something new out of the same me…and it is the same, I believe, with the earth and the heavens. It would be silly, imho, to think He scraps the amazing, seemingly infinite universe and starts over. It is more about bringing it to a perfected state.

      In fact, in the OT creation story, there are actually two words for creation. One is the idea of brand new, and the other is the idea of being renewed.

    • jferwerd

      I meant to point out too…those passages you quote from Isaiah 65 and 66 take place on this earth and I believe they are saying in a renewed form. You can tell it's still this earth because it depicts mortals undergoing judgment, which I believe is during the Millennial Kingdom (the next age) when there are both mortals and immortals living upon the earth. 65:20: "And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed."

      And again in 66:22–24: "For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, "So your offspring and your name will endure. And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD. "Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind."

  • Julie

    As my Grandma used to say, "The most exciting place to be is the graveyard, Julie Ann. Once that dirt starts moving….." (Thessalonians text which we can agree to disagree regarding.) Respectfully disagree & still anticipate the trumpet sound. : )

    On the Majors (theology), conviction.
    On the Minors, tolerance.
    In all things, love.

    • jferwerd

      Thanks for the input Julie. What is really cool about the "last trumpet" is that the "Feast of Trumpets," the first fall Feast that has not yet been fulfilled (all spring Feasts were fulfilled by Jesus' first appearance on earth and the fall Feasts are expected to all be fulfilled by His return) takes place in early September on the "sliver of the new moon." The ancient Jews did not have calendars and hence did not know exactly when the new moon would show up for this annual Feast, so the only way they could figure out when the Feast was to begin was by keeping a vigil of watching each night for the sliver of the new moon to appear. Because of this, they often described the Feast of Trumpets (also called "Yom Teruah") as the Feast when "no man knew the day or the hour" of its appearing. So back to the "last trumpet," the Jews believe that the resurrection will happen on a future Feast of Trumpets, and that this is what Paul was telling them when he said, "no man knows the day or the hour." I hope that makes is late. :D

  • Julie,

    I'm looking forward to May 22nd to see what explanation Harold Camping has for the fact he's still here to provide an explanation. And as to the rapture in general, I'll pray for "pre", prepare for "post" (pre-tribulation vs. post-tribulation rapture), and if I just don't have the theology right either way (no rapture in the way many have interpreted) I'll keep serving Him and drawing the lost to Him as long as He gives me the breath to do so.


    • jferwerd

      Sounds like a good plan Jim! We should always be prepared to meet with our Savior, in and out of season, whether "in heaven" or on earth.

  • The patterns of God's movements in His Creation are evident throughout the Bible. His people were never taken OUT of a situation, but He always was with them THROUGH the trials. And considering Noah and the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem, it was the 'sinners' who were 'taken out' and God's people were remaining on earth. ;)

    • jferwerd

      I have come across some really convincing verses to that effect…that we are not taken out but delivered through whatever is at hand. Wish I could say more but know you have a lot of perspective on this. :D

  • The word translated in english (Earth) is the Greek Word AION which correctly is translated EON or Age in English translations. Therefore the day of the Lord (Judgement) is the end of the Age not the Earth. God bless you Julie, you are correct the RAPTURE is a myth. When this predicted day passes without God or the world noticing…it will HARM the cause of Jesus Christ! We are already in that New (Earth) AGE..we are New creatures because Jesus is here (PRESENT) now in our life, conscience, mind. We are being conformed to his image, not through our works but through his working in us.

    • jferwerd

      Jerry, which verse are you referring to? I agree that the Judgment is for a whole age, not a day. And thanks for the kind words!

  • dubleya

    Hey Jules,
    I'll look after the cats for you. If the rapture happens, there ain't a hope in an imaginary hotstove that I'll be going up. So no worries.
    I hope you drive a hybrid though, I would hate to do any damage to the Earth once I inherit the Kingdom…..

  • Acushla

    It is those who do not understand the Feasts of the LORD who do not believe in the Harpazo. The OT Saints were resurrected on the Day of the crucifixion when that Feast took place. Enoch was taken on his Birthday The Day of Pentecost which is The Birthday of The Ecclesia. The Feast is about the Firstfruits and the Harvests. So Julie study what the NT says about it. The Feasts of Trumpets is for the Jews. The Signs of the Times are very much in evidence for those who are Aware. My Heavenly Father in January 2009, for the first and only time in my life gave me this vision. Jesus Christ is Coming Soon. I am 75 years old and I have been an Ecclesia Christian since I was 8 years old. As soon as I read the words they disappeared. Our LORD will not allow His Bride to be attacked when His prophecy re the world will become like the days of S & G is fulfilled. He will take His Bride into the Wedding Chamber.

  • "The entire teaching is built solely upon a couple of vague passages in the New Testament, namely 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Matthew 24:40–41, both of which can easily be debunked and which contradict many other passages that give a different, clearer picture of the start of the next phase of the Kingdom taking place on a renewed, glorious earth full of uncorrupted justice and a new order of love and light shining on all mankind."
    Julie, don't forget that Revelation 2-3 is all about the church, and then God tells John, the type of the church, to "come up here" in chapter 4. You hear no mention of the church in Revelation, from Chapter 4 onwards until Christ returns. I believe in the Rapture and the Tribulation, and I also believe in the semi-renewed semi-glorious earth to follow. It's not either/or. During the millennium God will show something of how things should be, as He, ruling the earth directly and through His people, sets things to rights in this world. I'm very much looking forward to it. But I say 'semi', because it will be nothing compared to the New Heavens and New Earth of the age that comes after that.