An odd phenomenon happened in the days building up to May 21, 2011. For what may be the first time, atheists, agnostics, Christians, and people of other faiths came together in agreement on a religious issue. They all agreed the predictions of Harold Camping and the Family Radio ministry were laughable and not going to happen. People shared jokes, sarcasm, and staged photos in the media, on social networking sites, and in face-to- face conversations. However, in the midst of our new found, and perhaps short-lived, spiritual unity, did we stop to consider a chasm of difference still exists between our two perspectives?
Atheists, agnostics, and people of other faiths directed much of their ridicule and disbelief toward the Christian belief in the Rapture and subsequent Judgment Day. Whether malicious or humorous, comments from these groups revealed either a lack of acceptance or a lack of understanding for these end-times events.
Many Christians, on the other hand, didn’t focus their ridicule and disbelief toward the idea of an event known as the Rapture. Instead, Christians ridiculed the timing prediction and the faulty Scripture interpretations on which Camping based his predictions.
As is always the case with the truth, whether or not you choose to believe it doesn’t change its reality. Simplified, truth is truth whether you choose to accept it or not. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).
In His Word, God reveals to us that at some point a significant seven year space of time will begin. During this time – which Christians call the Tribulation – plagues, natural disasters, disease, famine, wars, and persecution will multiply to a scale we can’t even imagine right now. At the end of that seven year period, Christ will return, in all His glory, and establish a kingdom on earth. Either at the beginning, middle or end of that seven year tribulation, Christ will take all who believe in Him to be with Him in Heaven. Christians refer to this snatching away as the rapture.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
I feel sorry for the many people who sold their possessions, quit their jobs, and gave away their life savings only to find out they were following a false belief system. Although a person is wise to get ready for Jesus’ return, these followers chose to do so in an unwise manner. To truly be ready for the imminent return of Christ, we need to be ready spiritually. This passage from 1 Thessalonians tells us to encourage each other with the message of the rapture. The only way we can find encouragement in such an event is to know we will be one whom He takes when He comes for His own. We find that confidence by accepting Jesus’ death as payment for our sins, of which we all have many. Click here to read more about Jesus’ message of salvation.
“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus didn’t only die; He also resurrected three days later. This event, among other things, guaranteed the coming judgment:
“For He [God] has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed [Jesus]. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).