In Case of Rapture…

Disclaimer: I am in no way a Biblical scholar or theologian.  I can read.  I can type.  I love God.  Those are my only qualitifications for writing with any smidgen of authority on this subject.

I grew up in a church environment that emphasized eschatology (simply put, “end times theology“).

Not only did I have the…ahem…pleasure of watching Hells Bells, but I was also subject to a viewing of A Thief in the Night.

This movie seared fear into my heart that if I wasn’t right with God, I would most certainly not be called up with Him when the rapture came.

In all likelihood, I would be left alone in the middle of the grocery store and my parents would be called to Heaven, leaving behind an orphan child on Aisle 5.

When I was about 5, my brother and I were at the park with my older cousin.  He convinced me that the appointed time was upon us.

We noticed a strange light in the sky that seemed to be panning from left to right, over and over again.

Having never seen anything like it before, I asked my cousin about it.

“Keri!  Run!!  It’s the rapture!  He’s coming!  He’s coming!  Run home and tell your parents!”

I bolted outta there like there really was no tomorrow, stopping for a moment to hear my cousin’s roaring laughter in the distance.

It wasn’t the rapture after all.  It was a spotlight from a car dealership.

::

Surely you’ve seen the billboards or heard the reports that {allegedly} Saturday, May 21 is Judgement Day.

If you’re on board with that message, you should purchase this t-shirt.  It will make everything much more efficient for all involved.

Certainly, 89-year-old Harold Camping and his followers have removed this verse from their copies of the Bible:

32“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  33Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.”  (Mark 13:32-33)

Is there anything we do know for sure about Judgement Day?

Yes, we can say with certainty that Judgement Day is in fact coming.

27And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,  28so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.  (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Collectively, Christians are in agreement that Jesus Christ will return again

And, we can rejoice that His Second Coming is not solely for the purpose of bringing judgement.

I took a look in my handy dandy Handbook on Christian Belief where Bruce Milne outlines the four fold purpose of the Second Coming.

  1. To Complete the Work of Redemption  (II Peter 3:10, 13)
  2. To Resurrect the Dead  (John 5:28-29)
  3. To Judge all People  (Acts 10:42)
  4. To Deliver the Church   (I Thessalonians 4:16-17) 

::

We who have been adopted into the family of God, look with hope to His return, not fear or trepidation.  But, with a heart full of anticipation for the fulfillment of the promise that

 4…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  (Revelation 21:4)

It is is the same promise that propels us to take up the Great Commission.

And, while I may not agree with Harold Camping and his crew, I certainly respect the passion and compassion with which they have shared their message.

They have gathered caravans of vehicles, traversing many areas of the country to spread the word, through tracks, billboards, and loudspeaker.

It forced me to ask myself, “What are you doing to get the Word out?”

::

Do you partake in eschatology?  Why or why not?

What does the Day of Judgement reveal to you about God’s character?

What are your plans for Saturday, May 21, 2011?

28 thoughts on “In Case of Rapture…

  1.  We are having a 2-year old party for our middle at a local park. Weather is supposed to be great.

    I said it on Donald’s blog, and I’ll say it here: Anyone who tells you that they know the time of the second coming of Jesus is guilty of false teaching.

    Silliness! :)

    1. So, now that she’s 2, your wife knows she can’t breastfeed her in public, right?  ;)
       
      Happy Birthday to your sweet one.
       
      Yep, the fear mongers should take a note from their own signage: REPENT!
       

      1. Well, actually not until the 26th, so she still has a few more days…. o_O

        I heard on the radio this morning that 100 breast feeding mothers are going to do a “nurse-in” at the Forrest Park city hall on Monday. Let’s see how that goes. :)

        1. Bwahahahaah…a nurse-in!?  That’s awesome.  I wonder if anyone will be arrested!  It would also be quite interesting to see 100 babies feeding at the same time.  It doesn’t seem like I could ever get my kids to eat on cue.  

           

  2.  Well done Keri and hilarious story.  LOL

    Do I partake in eschatology? Yes, I love to study it. Christ is comin. When? I have no idea. But He’s coming and not to save but to take his bride (the Church) and bring judgment.

    Judgment reveals to me that God is sovereign and that God is love, but also consuming fire. Make no mistake, sinners will get God’s wrath for rejecting His Son. It is an awful thing to fall in hands of an angry God.

    May 21 plans? I have to go to mechanic, and do some food shopping. I know fun! 

    1. Moe…my story would have been much more hilarious if you had retold it.  hehehe  But, it is one of my fav stories from childhood. 
       
      Eschatology…for the longest time I dismissed it as useless.  I know what’s happening in the end, why watch the movie?  But, the entirety of His Word is useful for teaching.  I get easily confused by it all, but I think it’s a marvelous thing to read.  I get pretty pumped up by it!
       
      Oh, hope that mechanic thing works out well and isn’t too pricy!  Happy Friday, buddy! 

  3. First of all – LOVE the t-shirt :)  I think I want one.  I was a victim of the “Thief in the Night” movies too.  I was a teenager when they were first popular and it scared the living CRAP out of me!  You look at those movies today and they are funny and very corny.  Wow – I try not to become caught up in hype – just try to keep it real and live a normal life with my family and friends.  I will be recovering from my student recital which is tonight – tomorrow.  And hopefully doing something fun with my husband :)

    1. I know, I thought that t-shirt was pretty awesome too.  I think they should have one in black that says “Rapture UnReady”.  LOL
       
      Those movies totally scared the living daylights outta me. Especially the guillotine scenes!!  EEK!  I have other funny rapture stories from my childhood, too, that surely stemmed from scenes from those awful films.
       
      Have fun at the recital.  And, yes, I can imagine you will certainly need to recover from that, as will the students!  :) 

      1. OK…I didn’t know what you were talking about until you said the “guillotine scenes!” Didn’t someone erect a makeshift guillotine in the back of a church parking lot? Oh no…it’s all coming back to me now….

        It’s funny to me that something that should be wonderful (the rapture) is frought with so much fear!

        1. Sorry to drudge up something you had obviously repressed.  LOL
           
          You’re right-it should be something worth celebrating, not being scared of!  That’s why I thought it was important to bring up the other reasons Christ is returning.  It’s not just to bring Judgement, but to bring Redemption, Resurrection, and Reconciliation.  Oh happy day, for sure.
           

    1. Oh, what an aweome 9 year old birthday party theme!  Are you gonna dress up as Jesus?  You could make quite the entrance.  What would be your entrance song?  I’m getting all kinds of ideas now!  Have fun, Jason!

       

  4. Do you partake in eschatology?  Why or why not?

    What does the Day of Judgement reveal to you about God’s character?

    What are your plans for Saturday, May 21, 2011?

    ——————————
    1.  I’m a Pan-theist.  It all pans out according to the will of my Father.  My speculations are simply theological farting in the wind.

    2.  God is Holy and meant what He said.  He wasn’t joking around, and He isn’t going to give second chances.

    3.  On Saturday I shall be mowing my lawn, spending time with family, and specifically praying for the ones who have been deceived by this false prophet, Harold Camping.  On Sunday there will be a great many folks lost in confusion.  May our Jesus be there to pick up the pieces and bring His peace.

    1. The Donald is back in full effect!

      Pan-theist…LOL, but oh so true!

      I worry about those being deceived, too.  I hope the Truth will be revealed to them somehow.  God will certainly make a way.   

    2.  Bro’! Been wondering where you’ve been. Not sure if you got my email about The Invisible Church.

      I’m with you 100% on this one, by the way.

  5. I’ve never seen Hells Bells but have been “privileged” to see A Thief in the Night (ATITN). To this day I have never read the Left Behind series because ATITN removed all interest. My ONLY end time interest is being with Christ (as well as those I love). As long as He’s in charge, I’m content to leave all the whos, whens, and whys with Him.

    Tomorrow, I’m going to the opera…that is, if the Lord doesn’t come. I suppose some people might say that going to the opera would be a sign that the tribulation has started…but I find it mostly entertaining! :)

    1. I have ZERO interest in the Left Behind series, either the books or the movies.  It’s probably because I’m scarred by ATITN as well.  LOL
       
      Opera sounds awesome!  I’ve never been, but I’m sure it would be a fun experience.
       
      Thanks so much for stopping by Pop Parables!  Y’all come back now, ya hear? 

      1. I think I’ve got some of the Left Behind series as eBooks, but haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I have watched the first movie and bits of the second (starring “Super Christian” Kirk Cameron).

        One series I did find entertaining (and not at all scary … well, not that scary … well, if you’re a geek like me it’s not scary … well, if you didn’t get the Hell scared out of you by those movies combined with Holiness teaching … well, Holiness people wouldn’t be caught dead watching movies, anyhow, or they’d be left behind … ahem, sorry) was James Beausigneur’s Christ Clone trilogy, composed of In His Image, Birth of an Age, and Acts of God. It makes one long stretch, then kicks in with a notion I’ve thought about since Dolly the sheep: what if scientists were able to create a clone of Jesus?

        1. Wow.  I guess if you let yourself go there with that hypothesis, it could be an interesting read.  But, it does sound like it would require a degree of scientific thinking/desire for scientific thinking.  I don’t know if I have it in me, Joe.  :(

  6. I loved  the last question you posed asking us what are we doing to get the word out? Excellent point- we should focus more on what we are doing in Christ’s name than the mistakes others are making in His name. Though others can sure make our message a little harder to broadcast. 

    Your story is pretty hilarious, but part of me is sad for little Keri, running to tell her parents. Sounds very much like something I would have fallen for! Older cousins (or siblings) can be so mean, but I’m sure your cousin still gets a chuckle over it!

    I’m not big into eschatology. I figured I should know what the Bible says so I made sure I do, but it is not a subject I like to study and I think it is dangerous to focus on too much.

    I think the promise of the second coming means that God keeps His promises, I think it displays that He is both Love and Justice all at the same time. And I think it also displays that He listens to the prayers of the righteous. I firmly believe that those who pray for more time to do His work are what has held back the end for so long. Jesus said He didn’t know the time of the end, and I think that while God promised an end, He wasn’t specific because He hears and answers the prayers of the righteous.

    Tomorrow we are going to our friends house for his birthday. He and his wife are into board games so we will be playing some games and grilling out. It would certainly be rude if we left early to go to heaven! :)

    Awesome post Keri!

    1. Carla, thank you for your sympathy for little Keri.  ;)  It is definitely one of my favorite childhood memories.  Even that day, I thought it was pretty funny, probably more out of relief than actual humor.  LOL
       
      I really appreciate what you had to say about the prayers of the righteous.  And, that is certainly one thing that I could do more of to share the Word.  Pray for those in my life who have yet to receive Him.  Pray for opportunities to share His love.  Pray that He would grant me a tender heart toward the broken.
       
      Oooooh, I loooooove board games.  If you have any good suggestions, please send them along.  We’re always looking for fun and interactive games to play with friends.   

  7. Excellent questions from an excellent slant on the whole thing, Keri!

    Do I partake in eschatology? Yes and no. It’s obviously on everybody’s mind, especially today & tomorrow (5/20 & 21). I’ve read some things about it, and find myself in the pre-Trib camp mainly due to what one preacher mentioned about the traditional Jewish marriage rituals of the day, in which the bridegroom comes to take his bride away long before the marriage takes place. I am in no way dogmatic about it, though. The strongest comment I’ve had to make on the subject recently is to an old friend who is even more deceived than the “Family Radio” group; it seems he believes that true Christians need to “keep Torah” even today … but it’s not legalistic or anything, says he. Anyhow, I find myself coming back to a comment I made years ago: no matter what happens, God is trustworthy and faithful to protect His people, whether it’s by rescuing us from the Tribulation or protecting us in the midst of it, even to martyrdom as in the days of Nero or in too many countries today.

    What does the Day of Judgment reveal to you about God’s character? God is just. Love has already won (to echo back to our old pal, Rob Bell), but not everyone has chosen to cash in their winning “golden ticket” (or whatever metaphor you wish to use here). In order for God to love His creation, He has to deal with sin once and for all. Some will refuse to accept it right up to the very end, angrily defying God. But God, who is love and justice, loves us enough to put an end to sin … and that means putting an end to the curse and the cursed.

    What are your plans for Saturday, May 21, 2011? I intend to set up at least one Facebook page, for my church. (We already have an “old-style” Facebook group, but we’ve decided to let it be “archived” and start up a page, rather than the more intrusive “new groups” Facebook offers.) I might even start up a Facebook page for my own blog (no, I haven’t forgotten, Keri ;) ). And if the Rapture really does occur tomorrow? Then I pray that those to whom I’ve failed to show Jesus to will forgive me … but I’ll be rejoicing where it counts!

    1. Wow, Joe.  Such a thoughtful and well composed, response. Also, can you teach me how to do the bold print and italics and stuff in Disqus???  Is it hard?  Or am I just missing something?
       
      Very interesting that you mentioned pre-Trib.  My original content of this post included a description of pre-millenialism, post-millenialism and amillenialism.  I’m hoping that I can run that post again sometime should be it become relevant to a pop parable.  Honestly, I don’t know what to think about that argument.  I grew up in the pre-trib camp as mentioned in the story, but I’m not married to it (all puns intended).  It’s just one of those areas I don’t find pivotal to my salvation, and in that sense don’t spend a lot of time thinking about.  It is something I’m interested in though because I think at the core I really do have a lot of fear about the book of Revelation based on my upbringing.  And, I know that God doesn’t want me to be fearful about what is in His Word. 
       
      Thanks so much for commenting and reading, and for sharing!  I really appreciate it, Joe.  And, you should def create an FB page.  I’m on there way more than Twitter, so I think that’s where all the really cool cats hang out.  :)
       

      1. That one just flowed through me … which isn’t as bad as it might sound.

        I think the greatest fear that Revelation should generate is for those who haven’t come to know Him. Our pastor at Calvary Chapel Surfside is going through Revelation right now. I’m not sure how far back the iTunes podcast files go, but everything should still be available at http://www.ccsurfside.com .

        Bolding, italics, and what-not can be done in Disqus through simple HTML. For example, “<b>bold text</b>” comes out as “bold text“, and “<i>italic text</i>” comes out as “italic text“. To actually get the little brackets to come out, you use HTML “entities” &lt; and &gt; for < and >, respectively. To get “&lt;” to come out instead of “<”, you type “&amp;lt;”. And it goes on from there, of course … but don’t worry, the first bit is really all you need to worry about, unless you get into an explanation. :)

        I’m a major Facebook fan, but I tweet as well, and I know how to cross between the two of them. I just never thought my little ol’ blog “deserved” a Facebook page. Maybe it is time to join the “cool cats.” ;)

  8.  So either the rapture didn’t happen…or I missed it. :)

    I read all of the Left Behind books when they originally came out. They made for great light reading by the pool. Haha!

    I’m fascinated by eschatology. The problem is that it’s all conjuncture…and when you look at what the experts in the Old Testament and inter-testamental period believed about the coming of the Messiah, I realize that it’s pretty impossible for anyone to get it right. In fact, all of those who were experts in Jesus’ time kinda missed it because He didn’t look like their idea of the Messiah. 

    As for my plans for Saturday? Josh let me sleep in till 10 AM!! Go husband! :)

    1. My bff told me about a super funny Tweet she read on Sat: I’ve been left behind!  Where’s Kirk Cameron!?
       
      I think I should be more fascinated by it, but as you read, I have fears of it from childhood.  :( 

      Dude, your Saturday must have been awesome!  I was up at 6!  :) 

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