“But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" (Matthew 24:36).
Christians are a nervous bunch, sometimes. Many of them spend countless hours wringing their sweaty palms about when Jesus is coming back, as if that were some kind of bad thing. In fairness, I guess they’re worried if they’re going to have enough time for one more family trip to Disneyworld or one more shake at the Powerball jackpot. In all truthfulness, my wife once confessed to me that when she was a young girl, she was worried that the Rapture would happen before she had the chance to kiss a boy. Because of that, let me confess, no living person takes greater joy in the delay of the Rapture than me.
Well, I have good news, for you sanctified worry-warts. You don’t need to wonder anymore. I found a something that will tell you with mathematical certainty when we’re all going to get snatched up in the blink of an eye!
The makers of the website Rapture Index ( www.raptureready.com) have forty-five categories relating to world activities and events, measured weekly for their apocalyptic characteristics. Nothing got left behind on this site. For example, under the category “Drought,” we learn that “California will run out of water in one year’s time.” I know this comes as a shock to the State of California Water Conservation Board and I am sure they will respond to this hot news flash in an appropriate fashion…I think I hear the toilets flushing now. Not all activities on Rapture Index are building toward a full-scale apocalypse. Under “Plagues,” the Ebola threat is diminishing in West Africa, so maybe the Son of God hasn’t taken the white horse out of the heavenly stables just yet. These mathematical missionaries actually have a definitive number that changes from week to week to tell us how close we are to the uplifting event. Currently, it sits at 179, which according to their scale means we all better buckle up!
So, what about that rapture, anyway? Matthew 24:36 reads, "“But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we who are alive, who remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” Finally, Matthew 24:40 reads, “Then shall two men be in the field; one is taken, and one is left.”
That’s it, folks. That is the sum total quantifying the rapture. If it seems skinny like pastor’s jeans, that’s because it is. There just isn’t much to it.
The first time I thought about seminary, my wife and I ran a Christian youth group at Fort Bragg, NC. When asked what they wanted to learn about in the upcoming year, my young people chose, “End Times and the Book of Revelation,” as their Number 1 topic over, “Romantic Relationships,” and “A Biblical Approach to Beer Pong.” In preparation for this lesson, I found out quickly how little I truly knew about Eschatology (squirrelly word for the End-of-the-World stuff in the Bible). I committed myself to one day finding out the theological truth behind whether or not Left Behind authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins got it right.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and a Master of Theology degree, I am proud to report that today I have absolutely no idea when Jesus is coming back. I guess when he said no one knows the hour or the time, he wasn’t just penning the lyrics to the next Byrds single. Furthermore, it’s not just the Rapture I’m clueless about. I don’t know what a seven-headed creature of the sea really looks like nor have I yet caught a glimpse of a nasty-looking woman riding a beast with a glass of wine in her hand. The only thing I can tell you with certainty is that Jesus is coming back one day and Christians (dead or alive) will all live happily ever after. It only took $80,000 in tuition to figure that out.
If my conclusions fail to satisfy your ever-nagging curiosity about the Seven Bowls of Wrath, you can always indulge the statistical silliness at Rapture Ready. With an increase in UFO sightings around the globe, they tell me that Supernatural Activity is at an all-time high.
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