I have been mulling over whether or not to write on a topic now for several weeks, and finally decided to go ahead. The beauty of this sort of format is that if the finished product is junk it can easily be scrapped, or edited like crazy in the future. But rather than leaping directly into the rapture jive, it seems appropriate to me to introduce it by way of how it arose in my brain-case as a topic for an essay of the crazy pants variety.
I have to admit up front that I have been spending altogether too much time looking at the news feed material which my close personal friends over at Facebook send my way. I gather by observation; that there are algorithms at work. The sort of thing you click on, triggers similar feeds in the future. So, each person through their personal choices is (basically) programming themselves with what they already agree with. I find this oddly fascinating, and quite boring, it is both.
All that said, the sort of thing which shows on my feed is highly political (of the conservative ilk), very often humorous, and sometimes religiously quasi apocalyptic, y'know, just like yours truly! What I find more interesting than not, are the comments to a given post. Some posts have way too many to read, but even on those; you can get a whiff, and a general drift of "where" most of the commentary is directionally pointed, by skimming a couple of dozen or so.
Years (decades now) ago, I quit watching television. I resented being "programmed" into a unanimity, a kind of cultural group-think, so I quit watching (plus that, my TV conked out, and I was too cheap to buy another!). The broad outlines of popular opinion now, compared to when I quit watching, up until today have shifted dramatically. And I (for one) attribute much of this sea change to the constant barrage of images and words on television.
In its broad sense, the changes are toward a kind of muzzy headed marxism, which is all about fairness, tolerance and inclusion, which is to say what has been bred is a harsh and shrill victim status, a cruel and deceptive exclusion of the "incorrect". In this type of model, the smaller (and more bizarre) the minority, the louder and broader the message. In my opinion then, America (as we knew it) is no more.
Another cultus is forming, and it appears to be politically driven. That is, safety, security and provision are not to be sought in work, ambition and personal drive (forget about God!), they are to be awarded to all; as their rightful due.
So anyhow, if this estimate of what America is becoming is even moderately correct, a reaction to (or against) such "progress" is a (predictable) "end of the world" scenario. I am not (yet) certain that we live during the era just prior to the return of the King, but viewing the news feed comments, I am (apparently) in the minority.
As an aside, as best as I can tell, Peter the Apostle believed that he was living in "the last days", and I see no reason to dispute that estimate. So, in this essay at least, we are discussing that rapture jive, as it applies to the period immediately preceding the return, not a prolonged era of gospel tidings being spread to all the nations.
I have been a Christian since the winter of '77, and never during that period have I once embraced the so called "doctrine" of the secret rapture. In brief; it is crap theology, not only untrue but misleading in the extreme. In my estimate, the entire schmeer swings upon two verses in the Bible. I Thes 4:17, and II Thes 2:7 are the ones I have in mind. Jerked entirely out of context, we get this lame theory which (more or less) runs as follows.
Jesus will come, but since He doesn't physically touch the earth with His foot, it doesn't really qualify as a coming. You got that? So, when this occurs, He will zap the church outta here, and they will go have a good time for 3 1/2 (or 7, depending upon the interpretor) years. During that period, the Jews will renew bloody sacrifice at Jerusalem. Oddly, God will be pleased (?) to accept such worship, and they will do mightily. So anyhow, at the end of that period, the King returns, and establishes some sort of kingdom, in which believers and unbelievers (still together) will be ruled for precisely one thousand years. Then, there will be a judgement, a resurrection, and something or other.
This bizarre mishmash of the apostles' teaching was entirely unheard of in the church for 18 centuries. Nobody believed it, because it had not yet been invented. Let us take as an axiom; "Novelty in theology is not wholesome food".
To my knowledge, the rapture jive arose out of a series of meetings in which teenaged girls started giving first person"Thus saith the LORD" type of messages. This, (positionally) places them as equals to the prophets of old, and I (for one) do not buy it.
The keystone of their innovative word was; "Jesus could come at any time", which is clearly hogwash. This two stage mashup of eschatology was the "explanation" of their "revelation" and as a result utterly divides (again) Jew from Gentile. Two peoples, two salvations, clearly a fraud. And speaking of frauds, next this guy named Darby took the mess, and sold it like crazy. But where it really gained traction was nearly a century later, when Schofield published his KJV version "with notes".
Since (at minimum) the 1960's or so, a huge chunk of the fundamental and/or evangelical protestant church in the west has bought this misery hook, line and sinker. The net result?
Read the comments section of those semi-apocalyptic posts on Facebook. People expect to be lifted out, prior to the tribulation era. They do not expect to be here. Well, they may be correct, and "until he that prevents is taken out of the way" could well be the Spirit. So, if the Spirit is gone, and the Christians are gone at that time, then all I would say is that there are more ways than one to remove them! Ever heard of a chain gun?
But here is my "take" on what the rapture jive actually will do then in the lives of those buying into it. The Apostle Paul who is wrongly cited for supplying the idea, is the very same guy who predicts that two major signs must occur prior to the return. And it is these signs he warns the believers to watch for. So how are they going to do that, if they ain't here? The great apostasy, and the appearance of the man of sin are the two. And so, for those buying the rapture jive I would ask, of those alive then; "What is your opinion of that man?". And unless I am smoking major doses of controlled substances, the answer is obvious!
They are being forced into something like; "Whoever that guy finally proves to be (and we don't know where he really comes from), the only thing we can affirm for certain is that he is OBVIOUSLY NOT the man of sin!" I ask; "Uh, how can you be so SURE about such a negative proof?" Simply said, their answer must be; "WE ARE STILL HERE! We cannot be here, if he is here; so he ain't him!" Doesn't that seem an interesting coincidence to you?
One of the two signs given beforehand (the arising of this son of perdition), and the most vocal and active branch of the church being prepared for generations beforehand to deny his true identity? Downright flukey that! The other sign, a massive falling away from the faith; I take as deeply connected to the identity of this one rotten man. That is to say, a false religion need not necessarily "replace" faith, but add to it!
Central to the lie is a parallel, or an equality premise. After all, this is what the original rebellion was all about; "To become like God". So, evil or wickedness is not a self conscious endorsement of an "anti-right". Rather, it proposes a parallel (and unique) "also right". I infer that something along these lines must come into play in the future. And the rapture jive leaves believers very vulnerable exactly here. Whether during my natural lifetime or not, the two signs are tied together structurally. He claims to be somebody he ain't, and the faithful are swept along in this tomfoolery, it is both.
He, showing himself in the temple (where?) as-if he were god, may not get a hearty "Amen" from the believers, but neither will they be able to assert that he is the one we have been warned of! A theory of; "He can't be him, because we are still here", must breed a kind of "irrelevant nowhereland", a religious ghetto being built. Neither able to fit in with the mobs flocking to the un-man, nor able to testify that he is in fact the anti-christ, the church in this sense, sentences herself to a "no comment" at best! And this is what I mean by the new cultus being political.
The rapture jive is a twisting of scripture, which when imbibed, breeds a disinterest in the affairs of men. I recall when in the U.S.A.F. that "short-timers" (guys about to end their enlistment time) definitely had a bad attitude about doing their job. It just didn't matter anymore, if "I'm outta here" forms the ethic. So, in this case, the world can go to hell in a handbasket, and believers are not motivated to take risks to rebuild decency or truth in public discourse, for the very same kind of reason. They are "short-timers"! And girls, this is your message for us from on high? Please, stop the madness!
I don't pretend to grasp all that shall come to pass, but I know my own hearts' ambition. I desire like Job of old, to see my Redeemer stand upon this earth with these eyes of flesh! And, the slide we are now in culturally, may or may not be the final chapter. Regardless, I entrust my life and my death, my falling and my rising to the Good King. And if He sees fit that I have the endurance to live to that day, I'm all for it! I desire nothing in this world, but to see Him standing in victory, having kicked the ever living snot out of the foe, and all of his slaves!
Indeed, the entire teaching pattern of acquiring patience, perseverance, and endurance all point forward to that day! You shall require, my friend; a superhuman strength to tolerate His presence. Like a tornado, but wild, like a super-nova but really bright, we build endurance unto that rendezvous. We are to live, enduring all things; and not to be swept away with the guilty.
There exists precisely one method of guilt removal which He authorizes and recognizes. There is one bomb shelter strong enough and deep enough to cover us in that hour, and it is called ; "The blood of the Lamb". The very same apostle said once; "I determined to preach nothing to you . . . but Christ crucified, and Christ raised". This sole remedy doesn't change, nor does the clock or calendar reform our view here. Whether late or early, the one sacrifice is our one hope before Him. And if for any reason at all, that covering be removed, our hope in that hour dies.
He is sworn upon His own honor, the covering shall not removed.
It is for this reason, that I most strenously object to, and find utterly repugnant this "christian" teaching that in those last days, the blood of bulls and goats will once again be the path of acceptable sacrifice for anybody at all! In this plumbers' opinion, that would be "the abomination which makes desolate", indeed!
And this rounds out my spin on the rapture jive, except for one point. If we do see such horrible heresy as revived bloody sacrifice, and believers remaining physically present then, unable to correctly identify the un-christ, then the final weirdness of clocktime does (at that point) kick in.
Daniel and John keep stressing; "A time, times and half a time, 42 months, 1335 days" from the abomination to something marvelous. It is stressed and repeated, so (naturally?) the rapture jive doubles it to seven years? This guarantees a dis-spirited and forlorn bunch of do-nothings. See? They have been left behind! "Apparently" they were only fooling around with faith, and were not found worthy of supernatural evacuation planning. And so, to make a bad situation worse, their estimate of the duration is off by a factor of two! This guarantees an unready folk, and purchases leisure for excuse making, gee; just what we were missing. . .
The rapture jive is a theological train wreck, a massive lie and breeds no good fruit in those swallowing it. The reality is far different.
Ever since the original rebellion at Eden broke out, humankind was told to anticipate the Coming One, the Messiah of Israel. Through a hundred types, through the Law, via sound doctrine, with promise and threat, by poem and song we were taught to await His coming. But when He did show, who knew?
Well, there was His mom and step-dad, a gang of nobody shepherds, several astrologer types from Persia, an old lady at the temple, and one old guy who was promised to see him come before he died. But each of these had help in so recognizing Him. That is about it. So, we get an obviousness and a blindness both at once. We get a fulfillment and an inability to recognize, it is both/and, not either/or.
So likewise then, predicted is dire and wooly horrors in those days. Mens' hearts failing them for seeing the things which are coming upon earth! Plus, and simultaneously, we see a workaday run of the mill. It is business as usual, a type of not noticing like stepping into a bear-trap!. It will be both in those days then.
In brief, it has become my ambition, my goal in life to be like that old guy Simeon. I want to see the LORD's anointed come to do Justice(!) before I go.
That is all. Nothing else really matters much to me. That, and to tell you about it, I suppose.