I am saddened by kooks who take things that are biblical and make them into something worth ridiculing. The best recent example is Harold Camping, the “evangelist” who claimed that the rapture would take place on May 21, 2011. I don’t know much about him. I haven’t really researched him or his theories. I honestly have no desire to do so. But maybe I’m being too harsh when I say that the man has done far more harm than good to the way the world looks at Christianity.
There are many churches in the world that take the truth of Scripture and turn it into something dull and dry and boring, and I find that sad too. Because the Bible isn’t a dull, dry, boring book; it’s alive and its more relevant to our culture now than ever before. But what Harold Camping accomplished with all of his rapture talk was to make himself and his faith a fool. And the amazing part of it is, he obviously doesn’t know the Bible he claims to believe . . . but the world doesn’t know that. Harold Camping says he’s a Christian who follows the Bible and the Lord is returning on May 21, so he needs financial support.
Mr. Camping probably meant well. Mr. Camping really probably intended only to help people. But Mr. Camping took a concept out of Scripture and turned it into a farce. The rapture — the second coming of Christ — the start of the Tribulation — whatever you want to call it, no one will take it seriously anymore. All because this one man interjected his opinons into truth that God provided for the world to know.
Now just about everyone has heard of the rapture. And now, they think it’s an imaginary construct of a crazy Christian radio preacher.
But the thing about truth that has been diluded by people is that the original truth is still true. Truth is true no matter where you find it. And there is coming a day when everyone is going to realize that the rapture isn’t a laughing matter and it isn’t anything like what Harold Camping was talking about.
I like to think of myself as a rational person, and as a rational person I would be the first to agree that the rapture sounds unlikely. All the Christians will be taken to heaven? The world will be left with no Christians in it at all as the Lord begins His final judgment on Earth? (Personally, I believe the rapture will happen before the Tribulation starts, but I’m not going to split hairs with people who believe it happens in the middle or at the end of the Tribulation.) But I believe that the rapture will happen. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen because the Bible says that it will.
The Bible is very clear about the rapture and makes reference to it in practically every book of the Bible, whether it’s the New Testament or the Old Testament. Jesus talked about it. The prophets talked about it. The apostles talked about it.
The rapture is going to happen.
But between Harold Camping and the Left Behind series, no one takes it seriously anymore.
The best verses for discussing the rapture are mainly in 2 Thessalonians, I think. And the rapture is going to be a big deal. All the Christians who have died will rise and be taken to heaven; all the Christians who are alive still will follow. And the world will be left in chaos. There are many people who feel like the world will be better off if all the Christians would just disappear; trust me, the day is coming when you’ll get your wish . . . and then you’ll realize what the world will be like without the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s verse is Zechariah 14:9 and the whole chapter is actually talking about the state of the world after the rapture, and I encourage you to read the full chapter at BibleGateway. But I think verse 9 pretty much sums up what will happen after the rapture.
9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped.
After the rapture, after the Tribulation, after the end of everything when all things are new again, God will remain and so will the people who follow Him. But not the people who say they do. There’s a big difference between following God and just talking about following God. Just like Mr. Camping. He claims to believe the Bible but most of his claims include prophecies or information that isn’t biblical, the most notable of which is assigning a date to the rapture.
No one knows when the rapture will happen.
Period. The one thing you can be sure of is that the day someone says it will happen it won’t. Because no man will know the hour or the day when God will come back for His followers. Not even Christ knows.
The rapture is real. It’s going to happen soon. The only thing that God is waiting for is for the whole world to have the opportunity to believe and as of yet, that hasn’t happened. And the best advice I can offer to anyone who has questions about the rapture is to go to the Bible. Don’t go to some cook on television or on the radio. Read the Bible. Get a good modern translation you understand and read.
The Bible is where the rapture is first mentioned, although that’s not what it’s called. The word rapture is a Christian word our culture has applied to the day Christ returns for us; it’s not ever used in Scripture. So if you have questions, go the source.
And I can pretty much assure you that October 22 of this year will come, even though Mr. Camping says that the world will end on October 21.