“IT’S PERSONAL” Blog
After a decade or more of resistance, I have finally surrendered to the theology of the Rapture. I’m certain the Rapture will take place in the not-too-distant future — probably before the end of President Palin’s second term.
For those who have somehow missed the cultural juggernaut, Rapture theology holds that the world’s many crises will only escalate. (Pretty good odds there, huh?) But not to worry! Just before the you-know-what hits the fan, God will remove all the “good people” who have accepted Christ as their personal savior and deliver them to some safe celestial realm. The rest — those who never accepted Christ, or who said they did but never really did — will be “left behind.” Maybe you’ve heard of the Rapture from books that use this as a premise, the Left Behind series of 16 books. Novels, actually; fiction, like the Da Vinci Code. They’ve sold millions!
So when exactly will the Rapture come? It depends on how the current crises play out, and there are new problems all the time! You have to work hard just to keep up. For instance, this week’s violence between the Israelis and Turkish activists trying to penetrate Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip — well, that could have big consequences. Maybe we’ll see just how much nuclear capability Iran really does have, and that will spell imminent Rapture, for sure.
And there’s the whole “oil in the Gulf of Mexico” thing. Nobody knows what will happen, because we’ve never faced that big a mess before. One thing’s for sure: Poison enough water, poison enough spawning ground for important species, poison enough microorganisms at the bottom of the food chain, and the whole web of life just collapses. That, too, would certainly indicate an early Rapture.
Then, of course, there are the classic crises that we’ve been following for a while, such as overpopulation, climate change from greenhouse gas emissions, the acidification and warming of oceans, the global economy, natural disasters and war. Dependable as always, armed conflict makes for a good crisis – in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Darfur region of Sudan, in Chechnya and on and on. Then there are the wild card players, such as Kim Jong-il in North Korea and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran: Do they have nukes, or what?
So the Rapture’s timing is a matter for close watching and careful analysis of the warning signs. Kind of like the weather. An inexact science, lots of variables, but always interesting.
But as I said, surrendering to the Rapture theology has transformed my life. I used to be worried about all these crises! It’s true. I used to sign petitions for nuclear non-proliferation. And I would fax my U.S. Senators and Representative, urging them to get the U.S. behind a global commitment on greenhouse-gas reduction before the planet bakes like a sugar cookie in the oven too long. And I would give money to organizations looking for a diplomatic solution to the Israeli crisis. I really did. I used to do all those things.
Since I now know that it’s God’s plan that human beings will eventually destroy the world, what’s the point? And since God will rescue true Christians, Rapturing them to paradise just before the worst takes place, why should I get all excited over stewardship of our natural resources, our money, our time, our talents – or even my own health? Why continue a gym membership and eat salads when we’re going to be given new celestial bodies in the end? I can eat Moosetracks ice cream in front of the TV all day long, then loose my gut and love handles in the Rapture!
Believing in the Rapture is a lot less stressful than believing that Christ calls us to be partners with him in healing a world that has been lost to sin — what a lot of us used to think. And believe me, it’s a whole lot less work!
Rob Blezard is a writer and editor for SOLI. Reprint rights gladly given to congregations and church agencies for local, nonprofit use. Just include this copyright notice: “© Copyright 2010, Rev. Robert Blezard, www.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission.” Other uses inquire: firstname.lastname@example.org.