There is one thing to be said about the History Channel when it shows biblical “disasters,” how quickly people come out to provide broad misinterpretations of the bible. I am watching “The Nostradamus Effect” where what is featured is a misunderstood “rapture.” When the bible describes those who will be “taken,” being taken can be described in a great many ways, including that of being taken prisoner in a time of great strife, killed in a time of great strife, sickened, etc. And while the Apostle Paul may have made certain promises to his fellow beleaguered Christians. That they will rise in the air to meet Christ. In short, that it would happen in his time. Well, hate to tell the true believers, but Paul might have meant that they would become as persecuted and as martyred as Christ himself. Which actual history does reveal. And yes, Christians over at least two centuries did face a lot of persecution from those of the Roman and pagan faith. And no, Christians did not do a disappearing act when facing the brutality of Nero for example, nor did they do a disappearing act when Saint Augustine used the power of the government to drive off the heretics. Source: Elaine Pagels religious historian.
So the question is, where does the “rapture” as currently interpreted fit in?
The whole idea of the rapture fits in with a fantasy of the early church; the Earth is only 6,000 years old by the time that Christ is born. Based on a loose interpretation of the jubilees. Therefore, “the end of days” would be assured when another thousand years had passed. Well, to put it bluntly, some 1,800 or so years, give or take a decade or two since that early Christian priest first brought out this fantasy (Bible: Only God knows the day and the hour…) the history of modern man since he first was able to pick up a quill, dab some form of ink and put it to papyrus, has definitely surpassed that date of Christ’s return to Earth. No big deal, just keep moving up the date. Which is what people like Tim LaHaye love very much to do. And make these political divisions of us v them. Those people not deemed righteous enough will get left behind to face true horrors. Do reread the prior paragraph, about Christ or God not keeping the righteous from any sort of terrible tribulations. Neither of persecutions by Pagans, nor persecutions by fellow Christians. They were not spared the plagues, natural disasters, wars, revolutions, etc. for almost 2,000 years. So, having endured true horrors that can be inflicted by man against man, or the terrors that nature can unleash upon man, Christians say, that this isn’t nearly as bad as what must surely come when we disappear in the future. Not that I would wish to mock such a fervent belief, but 2,000 years after the bible and the presumption that the end times would occur during the same generation of Christ (by the way, yes, history does record that the end times for Israel did occur within the same generation of those who knew Christ) and no, Christians did not “rapture” at that time; and Christians are still fervently believing that scripture and therefore prophecy must apply in the here and now.
Well now, I can think of one thing that can apply to the here and now, the doom of man that arrives like a thief in the night. In short, that it takes you unawares. With as much navel gazing by people such as Tim LaHaye who look at the things he wants to see and discards all that (politically) that doesn’t fit with his dogma; I am quite sure that a great deal could take him unawares! Who defines righteous? God? Or Tim LaHaye? According to Acts, only God can determine who is clean or unclean, it isn’t up to LaHaye to make that decision. And yeah, even he could be among those “left behind.”
What is also a laugh riot is deeming that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse would include the anti-Christ himself. Actually, the four horsemen were sent by God to begin punishing the sinful, he’d hardly send out an anti-Christ to then do battle with Christ. Rather, the anti-Christ was a totally separate and evil entity that rose up among men as a world leader and a claim of messianic fervor. The sort of world leader who would deceive even the elite (Christians). Yes, it would help if Christians would read Revelations in context. In which case, to visit the label of anti-Christ on popes, kings, Hitler, etc. wouldn’t be out of the question or by any stretch of the imagination. Anti-Christ does mean a truly cruel and brutal dictator who will persecute and destroy any person who does not demonstrate the utmost loyalty to him. In which case, GW Bush could find himself with the label hung like an albatross around his neck. Good thing this is a democracy, huh?
Who defines good and who defines evil? Of the world’s three monotheistic beliefs, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, they all believe they are righteous and chosen to be with God in heaven. Then who is defined as evil? I could encourage my readership to think thusly: evil is to fail to be moral. Thus, a criminal can be considered evil. How about other forms of evil? To lack compassion is to be evil. To fail to show an humanitarian impulse is to be evil. To engage in murder because he or she or they is not “of us,” is to be evil. Did not Christ say, “Love thy neighbor as thyself?” To claim an association with Christ but refuse to comply with his straightforward teachings can’t possibly be a good thing. To wash the outside of the pot but to leave the inside of it dirty, doesn’t put a person in the moral spotlight either. That surely applies to anyone of any religion and “we” aren’t slated to go to heaven if we aren’t living up to biblical commands. So, how would millions of people disappear across the Earth leading to havoc? It might be one of those situations where God is told to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten righteous men are found there in. That could be tough.
Reading the other day a Kathleen Parker editorial about President Obama’s Nobel Peace prize in which he used the occasion for justifying America’s continued presence in Afghanistan. Ms. Parker took the time to finally define conservative as a belief in human fallibility and therefore the necessity of moral order. She could have quoted St. Augustine himself in which he did push, because of human fallibility the necessity of government. Well, if that were the case, why do “conservatives” recognize human fallibility as an ingredient to support moral order in all things except the marketplace? By placing the marketplace in this utopian view of perfection, as an entity capable of self-regulation, that should not face gvt intercession or intervention; also resulted in a global market crash, wide spread famine, the development of new diseases, of massive suffering in this “ownership society,” of a general economic breakdown just in this nation alone. Apparently, human fallibility is not to be found where great wealth is created, technology and financial institutions do reign. Actually yes, even there. Then wouldn’t the restoring of a moral order require regulation just because of human fallibility? That means, gvt intervention, doesn’t it? Which puts the “conservatives” of today’s ideology in the untenable position of actually being liberals, or new left radicals.