Late for the Rapture?

“If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

“But in those days, following that distress, "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

“At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds,
 from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task,
 and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
(Jesus' words from Mark 13)

Although I remember many predictions of the end of the world (1986, 1994, 1999, 2000), I thought this one was the most interesting, and only because it happens on my 40th birthday.  Raptured for my birthday?  Neat!  Not having to live in the anxiety of turning 40?  Even better!

Of course, as much as I would love Jesus to show up, I doubt he will be here today.  And that is ok.  I know there are people all over the news, twitter, facebook, diners or the work lunch room who are laughing at yet another crazy fundamentalist Christian.  I even saw a website compare Camping's followers to Islamic extremists (Uh, no.  Islamic extremists blow up themselves, and anyone around them, to get to heaven; Camping is merely waiting patiently for Jesus to show up-not trying to meet him part way.)  But, I see a couple good things coming from the crazy Christians:

1) The Rapture is being introduced to a new generation.

Although this depends on you and me.  Many people know about, and accept, the Mayan prophecies about 2012.  Most Americans have seen the movie "2012" regarding cataclysmic events related to those prophecies.  However, the people most vocal about the rapture are strange people who keep predicting it over and over without apology for getting the date wrong, and they have become jokes, "crazy Christians."  We can use this opportunity to let others know the Truth.  And, please, don't go handing out tracts to everyone.  Jesus called people by name.  He had conversations.  He had dinner parties.  This weekend we don't even have to work hard to figure out how to bring up Jesus.  All you need to do is talk about current events!

2) The Church is being challenged to think about the second coming biblically-perhaps leading Christians to read the Bible. 

While it is stated that 92% of American households owns a Bible, biblical knowledge is pretty abysmal according to Gallup:

-- Only half of adults interviewed nationwide could name any of the four Gospels of the New Testament.
-- Just 37% of those interviewed could name all four Gospels.
-- Only 42% of adults were able to name as many as five of the Ten Commandments correctly.
-- Seven in ten (70%) were able to name the town where Jesus was born, but just 42% could identify him as the person who delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

At the restaurant where my husband & I went for breakfast this morning, two older gentlemen where discussing different passages related to the end times in contrast to how Christians should live.  "All some of them think about is being born again, but they don't read the rest of the Bible to know how to live," one of the men said.  I do agree with this to an extent.  If we focus on being "born again" as a type of fire insurance, no real conversion of the heart may ever happen.  If we are truly born again, this new birth informs, and transforms, our lives.  The thirst for God and his Word should grow. 

3) Goofy as their caravan was, Camping's troupe wanted to tell others about the 2nd coming of Christ. 

As Kirk, my wise young friend, put it: "Why would they wait till the last minute?"  Maybe this will challenge us, not to ask people to throw on a Jesus life preserver, but to preach the Gospel-to ourselves first, and then to those we love, and then to those who cross our paths.  Believers have become a little nervous about this, I think.  Probably related to too many apocalyptic predictions, but we can use them as a means to evangelize!  Pray for boldness.  Pray for opportunities.  We shouldn't let chance pass to lovingly correct the rumors and share Christ with others!


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