Why you should stop waiting for the rapture

rapture ready

Originally I wanted to name this post: “The implications of eschatological pessimism and escapism” but then I imagined the average response of my target audience would be: “boooring.” Then I wanted to label it “why we should not be stockpiling an underground bunker full of freeze dried food and weapons as we wait for a seven year battle with the antichrist” but it was too long. Too bad, I liked that one. So instead I titled it as short and controversial as I can, hoping all the rapture-obsessed folks could climb out of their bunkers and come here to take a look.

The Gospel of Jesus the End Times

I remember being young and hearing prophets, who were said to be channeling God (in a “Thus saith the Lord” way), speak of the impending end times. Their words drove fear into my bones. As I lay on my bed I would imagine a dystopian future, and ponder whether I would have the ability of sacrificing my life to be saved. (For some reason I was convinced I wouldn’t make it in the rapture and would be left behind). My only option in most fantasies and day dreams was to run away and hide. I would imagine exotic places where we could be safe. Yet we Pentecostals were hardly alone in having an end time centered theology and missiology; many Christian groups were and still are just as strongly focused on the rapture, which (last I checked) is a few months away. Those that grew up without the ecstatic prophecies, grew up in a world dominated by something even more frightening: rapture films

Who can forget the dread from seeing the arm-patch-wearing soldiers abducting and forcing people to be killed by that chrome guillotine in “Thief in the night.” This movie did for the rapture what Star Wars did for science fiction. For an 8 year old, it was scarier than ‘Friday the 13thand Lady Gaga. Every time my parents disappeared without telling me, I was convinced the Day of the Lord was upon us. I even appointed a few persons as my rapture barometers. They were so good that I knew that I if they were still around, the rapture hadn’t happened. I was so antsy, a neighbor practicing his trumped could startle me into thinking the trumpet call of the Lord was upon us. We cared about this stuff, alot. Every barcode was eyed suspiciously. The government, even more suspiciously. Some preached about the antichrist with such vigor that I often felt he would burst into the room at any second. The end times were a big deal and many of us just wanted to run and hide.

The consequences of “rapture-ready”

Because of the size and influence of this rapture preaching machine that continually spits out books, films, and conferences, it is no wonder many dispensationalists (those that hold to the “Left Behind” rapture view) are fascinated and driven by the end times. It often takes one of the most pivotal roles in their theology. Without question some of my good friends are strongly convinced that it is only a few years away, of course they said the same thing a few years ago as well. When it comes to those who are captivated by the rapture and the end times, not all is bad. Some tend to be fervent in conducting evangelism (good) because they believe this is the last harvest. Though some might do this by telling people they have only a few years before Armageddon (not so good, because if someone repents to be saved from the imminent end times, but lives many years without seeing this, they may doubt their faith) While some try to “prepare the final harvest” many others take a pessimistic escapist approach. I once had a very distant uncle who left his family in the states and went to Saudi Arabia to prepare a place for them. He was robbed and came back empty-handed. Fortunately, a good 15 years later he has not needed his Arabian getaway.  I know of others who moved to rural areas of South America to avoid the microchips. I last heard a rumor that they were dealing with disease and poverty, being unable to move back to the states. Still others are preparing basements full of pickled cucumbers and Kent Hovind dvd’s. As Mars Hill Everett is moving into a new building, which was previously an armory, there has already been one person who has approached the church, having the wrong idea about the word “Armory” and the church’s missiology, asking when he can bring the ammunition and start building the underground bunker. So many people, from so many nations and denominations are ready to hunker down and hide out, as if “Hurricane Antichrist” is bearing down and needs to be weathered.

For many people to be “rapture ready” means to lock the doors, pack your bags, and wait for the rapture taxi. There is no mission, no neighbors to love, no life goals, only the fear of a world ready to explode and the plans of a secret escape in the middle of the night.

Why I’m not getting ready for the rapture

1. I am not ready to escape here, there is way too much to be done.

I have not done enough, not nearly enough to show even one tiny smidgeon of gratitude for what Jesus has done for me. The only hope I have is that I can show it in heaven. I don’t want to leave this world after only doing so little. Why would I waste the short few years I have on this planet only to convince everyone there is no time left? Why should I tell people “to the bunkers! to the desert!” instead of telling them “to Jesus!”  What is the point of that? Being safe without Jesus is not safe at all, while being in danger with Jesus is the safest place to be.

2. Christ’s mission tells us to plant our roots, not pack our bags.

The whole point of Christ’s great commission is to encourage and equip us to make others into disciples. This includes going out into the world, loving people, showing kindness, making friendships, and seeing God’s transformative power working out in people. Scripture doesn’t teach us to build underground bunkers or hide from the mission. Even if, and that’s a huge if, the antichrist and all his cronies show up tomorrow with matching 666 tee-shirts, what then? Abandon ship? Abandon the mission? Throughout history the church has often been persecuted, yet has never though it a reason to abandon ship. So because yet another antichrist shows up and he has gadgets, everything changes?

3. Every generation before us has already “been there & done that”

Let’s be honest, how many people from every single generation have already lived whole lives, convinced of an imminent rapture, and yet died before ever seeing the culmination of their beliefs? It has been a wasted endeavor, it has wasted peoples time and wasted (think nuclear warhead laying waste to a city, that kind of wasted) people’s faith. Everyone who said “it’s over just the horizon, just watch” but been wrong. Let me repeat that again, so far everyone has been wrong. So what makes you think you’re different? Look at that, your answer in the same exact answer that all the others folks who have been wrong have previously given. On that note, while you are busy screaming about the end of the world and prophecies, you might die, not having done much else except prepare your bunker. Perhaps it can be your grave?

4. There are other (even better) eschatological views than Pre-Trib Dispensationalism

Often those growing up in certain streams of the church were raised on only one type of eschatology (study of the end times). Usually this involves a dude named Nicolae Carpathia (Left Behind fans will get this) and microchips. Yet there are other, robust, theological views of the end times, that don’t teach us to hide, and that, in my opinion, answer some of these questions in an even better way. You can check out a very basic primer here. What you (and I) read about in Left Behind or watched on the “tey-vee” is not necessarily God’s gospel truth.

17 responses

    • No he believes in himself to wit stand the tribulation. He doesn’t look for Jesus which the Bible tells us to do, he looks at signs of the times and accuses those with discernment of not doing enough, all while he has wasted how much time there trying to belittle Christians instead of working on that great comission he claims he’s all about. Sad fact is post tribbers cannot use scripture to defend their position, so they use insults instead. So typical from the discusing the title down though the entire article, nothing but laced insults. Hardly edifying and certainly not Christlike. Don’t full yourself into thinking this man has a heart for the Lord, the lost or a lick of discernment. He’s prideful wrapped up in his poor interpretation of the Bible, instead of seeing the scripture that all points to the imminent arrival of Christ. Remember we aren’t told we will receive a crown for loving the appearance of Christ, because we should be looking for the antichrist. All those people who think they will be some awesome post trib warrior, fighting the good fight while all odds are against them. Why aren’t you doing more now? We have never seen children so badly abused, drugs turning people into demonic zombies, hate for everyone who’s different, color, class, even religious beliefs. Why not being something about that, instead of wasting what appears to be copious amounts of time bad mouthing Bible believing Christians?

  1. I agree, Yuri. We have found such a convenient way of exporting our focus, responsibility, hope, and expectations out or this world and into another. I was really good at it in my First Half of Life. I blindly accepted my “tribe’s” belief that this world will destroy itself anyway as we are “totally depraved.” Our only hope is for a future life. It required vast creeds, confessions, commentaries, and creative biblical translation to move from “the Kingdom is at hand” to an exported “Kingdom of Heaven,” but we did it. I can do so no longer.
    As for GBU’s question, I do still believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, but in a shifting and deeper sense. For me, it is less as substitutional sacrifice and confessional declaration. It is more as example, challenger, mentor, and wise soul. I don’t know how GBU might categorize me. I wonder how I would have categorize myself when I was a pastor in a mainline Protestant denomination.

  2. Look I know it will happen on a foggy day that’s all I know, when I was 5 the only thing I can remember was a dream i had about the rapture and it happened on a foggy day.

  3. Agreed sir,
    The world always seems to be coming to an end time rapture scenario but just stay rooted and never stop believing.

  4. Hi, I’m truly inspired by your article. The gosple means ‘good news’ not fearful news. Rapture should bring joy and happiness to our minds not fear of doom. I agree with you that we should keep believing and spreading the good news which is the love of Jesus who came to take away all our fears and worries. That’s the best way to wait for rapture.

  5. Mr. Yuri I truly understand what you are saying here and why do people keep encouraging these kind of stuff, also I am just 13 years old but unlike others I like to communicate with God and learning about the bible or teachings , I think God is telling me something about this ( the article ) and I want to understand it
    but I think I can’t find the connection to understand it….

    ,James

  6. I’m currently composing a series of posts regarding the frailty of the Dispensational pre-trib rapture view, and I linked your post to my introduction. Well said, sir.

  7. Few days ago I had a dream about the rapture. I was left behind because of fornication, bug the thing about the dream was the feeling after The Good people were caught up, I knew that People with a conscience will suffer more. Rapture is certain, my dreams have made me the man I am today a successful man, so now that I have dreamt about the rapture its certainly going to happen. I dream about the rapture 16night to 17 morning December 2015

    • sure brother in Christ,
      lets preach the gospel to the world to prepare people for the rapture..
      wherever you are.,Jesus is the same..stay blessed
      May GOD Bless you for your work..

  8. I love this article i hope many christians will read this… Im afraid to be left behind before… but i know Christ has saved me… I want to ask if you still believe in Christ sir??

  9. all we need is JESUS…we must know that JESUS will come back to earth and rapture the holy people..
    JESUS is Savior and He loves us all….
    we need to preach the Gospel to the world……….

  10. If you are reading this message, you have greater material wealth than MOST people in the world. Lets face it, you and I most likely will have food to eat today and clean water to drink. We are probably NOT hiding out in basements escaping artillery or wondering when the next bomb will explode.

    You and I (most likely) have never experienced trial or tribulation like many people in the world, who have faced horrors since the day they were born.

    The “rapture” I imagine and pray for, is the event that will protect these people (the ones who have known trial) and lift them up into peace and pampering.

    I pray for that every day. May the LORD use me for his will, even if it means staying here to preach the Word to those left behind.

    The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Please LORD…spare your people

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