Friday is the end……

Harold camping who runs Family Radio Worldwide

Well that is according to my favourite religious nutter, Harold Camping. It is he good reader who you may remember said that the world was coming to an end five months ago.

When the world continued past the expected end if 21st May, he realised that he had made a mistake and went back to his calculations.

He came up with the great idea that judgement had already started but that the final rapture would be on the 21st October this year. Now I have to say that I find this very inconvenient as it is 4 days before my 25th wedding anniversary.

But the problem with many of these people is not only their flaky theology (and I include Lance Lambert in this camp) is that they are not open to rational argument or decent theological inspection. It is enough that they have declared it and so it shall be. It does not matter that the basis on which they have argued is deeply flawed, see here and here, no it is because I am not spiritual enough to see or that their revelation is direct from God and cannot be questioned.

There is plenty about to lead people astray on this. There is the Rapture Index which shows the level of likelihood that the Rapture may be imminent (Besides believing in the Rapture for which they score an automatic fail they do at least admit that they aren’t predicting when it will happen). As it says on their site:

The Rapture Index is by no means meant to predict the rapture, however, the index is designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture.

You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we’re moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.

Which brings me back to Harold. He has kept a low profile recently. This is probably down to two factors, firstly and sadly he has had a stroke. Secondly, he believes that the judgement has already happened and that there is therefore now no way back from that and no chance of repentance (and so we are wasting our time seeing people come to faith). The $100 million advertising campaign hasn’t been repeated because, according to Camping, there is no point or need to. God has already made his decision and that is that.

Now the thing about all this rapture lark is that a) it’s not biblical and b) what on offer by God is so much richer.

Firstly, its not biblical. Most Rapture types quote two passages of scripture Firstly, Matthew 24.36-41.

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.

This passage doesn’t talk about those taken away as being the “raptured” – rather the passage shows the total opposite – the children of God left behind. The other favourite passage is 1 Thess 4.13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,g about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Now the thing about this is that it is not a rapture to be taken away – rather it describes of Jesus to be Lord of the whole wide world. The image that Paul evokes is that of going outside the city to meet an important person and escort them back to the city. In other words Paul is precisely not saying that we will be whisked off. Rather Jesus will return to that which is his own and restore all things. Restore this beautiful haunting world to what it was always intended to be in beauty and justice and love.

The problem with the Rapture is not only is is bad theology it also leads to escapism and running away from this world and leads to us treating God’s creation with contempt. Rather God loves all he has created and wishes us to as well.

One day Jesus will return and we are called on to be working to make this world a place suitable to have him here before he does.

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