Well, here we are on May 22, 2011. I feel sorry for Harold Camping and his followers. They woke up today, many of them broke, and all of them disillusioned. Judgement Day 2011 was a bust. What do they do now? Set yet another date? Solicit more money to promote a new Judgement Day?
My advice to them: Read the Bible! A few simple words from Jesus makes it perfectly clear NO MAN will know the day or the hour. We're told to be ready, not to predict the day.
So, what's all this Rapture stuff all about anyway?
First of all, I am not a theologian. I'm not an expert in eschatology or anything else for that matter. But I know how to read and study and think and investigate. Therefore, what follows is MY understanding of the Rapture.
The word "rapture" is not actually used in the Bible. It comes from the Latin word "rapio" which means "caught up". It can also mean "snatch" "grab" or "carry off." In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the Greek expression used by Paul--"harpazo"-- is translated in Latin as "rapio."
"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."
Paul is obviously talking about something that will happen in the future. It will happen to Christians because Paul is writing to the "Brothers" (v. 13) in the church in Thessolonica. He uses the term "we" throughout this passage, which means he's speaking to fellow believers in Jesus Christ. "Caught up." "Clouds." "Meet the Lord." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to envision what he's describing.
Jesus told us in John 14:3 that He would come back and get us. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
How will He take us all back Home?
It also lines up with what John wrote in Revelation 3:10. Revelation 2 and 3 are letters to the churches, with Jesus telling John what to write. Revelation 3:10 says, "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth."
In the original Greek, the word used for "from" means "out of." Since the actual physical church in the city of Philadelphia mentioned in this passage was destroyed in a Turkish invasion in 1382, we understand that Jesus was writing this letter, as well as all the other letters, to ALL believers. Each letter ends with, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." I have an ear and I'm listening! So are a lot of other people. The logical conclusion is: Jesus is telling ALL believers they will be kept from the hour of trial.
Rapio! Caught up in the clouds, baby!
It wouldn't be the first time a human disappeared from the earth. In Genesis 5:24, Enoch, who "walked with God" was "no more, because God took him away." That's what the rapture will be like for Believers. They will be no more, because God--Jesus--took them away just as He promised.
Rapture theology hasn't always been around. It first appeared in the 1800s. Why not before that? Your guess is as good as mine. Illiteracy. Lack of Bibles. Denominational teachings that only certain people should read the Bible and then teach it to others. Who knows. But no one can dispute the fact that the verses I've mentioned here were always there, ready for anyone to read and understand.
If you are a fellow Believer, I'll wave at you as we're being "caught up" to heaven, OK? If you're not, I'm sorry to tell you you're gonna miss all the fun! But it's not too late. Make your flight reservations today!