the evolution of rapture theology

We’ve been debating the Rapture in an earlier thread. It seems like some folks out there don’t believe that there will come a day when all good Christians will be called up to God’s side while the rest of us are made to suffer horrendous pain in lakes of fire and whatnot. One such non-believer calling himself Origen and Tonic, had the following to say:

It may be worth noting that all the rapture stuff is relatively recently en vogue in Christendom, coming into full swing in the U.S. of A. in the last hundred years.

Previously, the bulk of the believing thought that Christ was currently ruling and would return to a victory parade after the majority of the world was following his teaching. This led folks to do all sorts of crazy things like try to abolish slavery to try to make the world more ready for the return. Like tidying up before a guest.

A big “rapture” passage is Mathew 24:

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”

Note that the ones “taken away” in the days of Noah were the “wicked.” The gooduns are the ones left behind. So, according to Jesus, the wicked will be raptured to death and doom while the decent folk are left to enjoy, literally, heaven on earth…

As I always like to provide equal time for dissenting opinions, here’s a link to some good Left Behind inspired evangeliporn.

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  1. MaryD
    Posted June 13, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Like a thief in the night…
    When discussing this topic in my office, the catholic knew nothing of this rapture stuff, but now the baptist, she knew it all including the bit about a second chance if you survive, now that is news to me too.
    Maybe this is why George 2 left Israel out there with no peace efforts for so long, he is waiting too.

  2. Brackache
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Origen: if I look up the history of the doctrine of the rapture, will I find that what you said is true? Or is this 2nd or 3rd hand info? Not trying to be a jerk, I just really don’t know much about the rapture for sure.

  3. egpenet
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    This is like the cyclone that blasted through Ypsilanti on April 12, 1893. We KNOW the fact, but there’s no WHY.

    The “Rapture” is an effort to provide a WHY about things … why some live, some die … some homes are lost in a tornado and some left untouched.

    In the Ypsilanti “cyclone,” I saw a photo of the N. Huron damage, which destroyed four or five buildingsimmediately next to my home, but left my home and St. Luke’s untouched.

    IMHO … like life itself … it’s all just dumb luck, folks. That’s the thrill of putting yourself in harms way, ie. … behind the wheel of a race car … building a cottage on a barrier island … voting for John McCain

  4. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Hey, I just saw an ad in the paper today:

    County Wide Crusade
    Evangelism Explosion
    Eastern Michigan University Grounds
    Northwest corner of Hewitt and Huron River Drive
    June 14th thru [sic] June 27th
    9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Daily
    Workshops, Counseling, Preaching, Teaching and Evangelism Outreach
    Coordinated by Minister Doris Massey-Byars
    (734) 961-5603

    I couldn’t find any website for the group, County Wide Crusaders. I feel like maybe going just to see.

  5. soundman
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Coordinated by Minister Doris Massey-Byars

    she has posted on here before

  6. Brackache
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I hope no one’s suggesting we harass folks who have beliefs many might find stupid. That’d be pretty assholish, wouldn’t it?

    I mean, show up if you’re curious, sure, but I just want to get that outta the way as a possibility, to clear the air first.

    Not that anyone has suggested that. Just sayin’.

  7. Origen and Tonic
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 11:24 pm | Permalink


    I can’t claim to have first-hand experience of the last two thousand years, but, yes, it checks out.

  8. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Is it at least okay to harass folks who think the antichrist will be a robot?

  9. egpenet
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Just listed a bunch of books on my Amazon site published by Ekancar, plus several titles by and about Gurdjiev. What phase of the moon is this, or what? (BTW, Half moon risin’.)

    They gotta know why, why, why … it’s just weird folks. We are a little tiny planet in a litle solar system at the tip of an arm of a humungous system … hurtling away from the center of the universe.

    Dumb, damn luck … but I’m glad I’m here … and I’m glad to be with all of you. That’s ONE good choice I made. Otherwise, it’s quite true, as we said in the sixties, “We’re all Bozos on this bus.”

    Blows me away. You?

  10. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Oh, I’ve never intentionally sabotaged innocents (excepting my boyhood crusades against my older sisters’ slumber parties). From time to time, I go to see, understand, relate with people whom I don’t understand, people who are markedly different than I am in culture, practice and/or ideology. If only more people would do that.

  11. Posted June 16, 2008 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    The evolution of rapture theology: Aren’t rapture theologians, in general, opposed to the idea of evolution?

    Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”: Whenever I’ve contemplated this rapture scripture, I’ve always interpreted it a little differently: I think what it is saying is that we don’t know when we are going to die. For the last 2000 years people have been anticipating the “return” of Jesus. I think most missed the boat, not recognizing it at Pentecost. Our individual rapture will occur upon our physical death. That is my interpretation and belief. There is not going to be some armadedon type rapture event. I’ll be standing next to my wife tending my petunias when I whale will suddenly drop on my head, missing my wife but taking me to the life hear after.

  12. Origen and Tonic
    Posted June 18, 2008 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Well. I went to Sunday meeting a couple days ago and, oddly enough, this was the sermon.

    It’s a 25 minute audio file and takes a few seconds to load, but if anyone has a peculiar interest in this topic and wants to see how a more traditional theology than “I’ll fly away” impacts motives for things like social justice and the environment, here’s an example. If you’re impatient, skip to around minute 19.

    And, there’s still plenty for the non-xtian to object to. That’s all well and good. It’s just offered as an example of an alternate view of the end of days, that encourages followers to love the world, without expectation of leaving it.

    It’s a bit different in places than JoF’s view, but I’d say JoF also offers a reasonable, historical view.

    Mark’s right. Theology matters. Even to the folks who don’t give a damn about theology. The theology of others shapes our world. For better or worse.

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