Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rapturists are Wrong

All this Rapture nonsense annoys the crap out of me. I know, I know, it's no crazier than any other religious belief, but it's not in the Bible and it's not part of the Christian tradition, at least not until the 19th century. Rapturists are a whole 'nother religion as far as I'm concerned.

I was talking to my Dad, who studied theology in college and was meant to be a Campbellite preacher, about the Darbyites and where they got this foolishness from. His take is that they imagined that John, who wrote the Apocalypse, was more akin to Nostradamus than to a Biblical prophet. He was a fortuneteller, not a soothsayer, in their eyes. All the prophets, to such folks, were writing, not about the time and place they lived, but about the far distant future. How you'd know which prophets to include in your canon hasn't been explained, but that's how they see prophesy.

Dad reckons, and I agree with him, that John was writing in apocalyptic code about conditions in his own time and that he alludes to persons and nations acting at that time. He was regarded as a prophet because what he wrote was true when he wrote it, and readers at the time understood what he alluded to.

I don't expect Christ to return any time soon. As Martin Short remarked on Real Time the other day, he's probably going to visit the trillion other planets who didn't nail him to a cross before he comes back to us.

1 comment:

Tuna Blogger said...

The PIC and The Church's Rapture
“The 88 Reasons Why Rosh-hash-ana 1988 Must Be The Time
of The Church's Rapture”
, a book by Edgar C. Whisenant

In May 1988, my wife was handed a book by Edgar C. Whisenant that
purported to analyze Biblical prophecies, the calendar and every scripture to
determine that The Rapture would be on October 4, 1988, that WWIII was going to
begin at 6:00PM on October 6, 1988. She passed the book to me and I read it
with a fair amount of skepticism and humor. The author seemed quite earnest in
his lengthy and scholarly presentation. I marveled at its timeliness, too -
only months before the end. I told my wife that it was fortunate that we would
be driving through the deserts of Arizona on vacation when the bombs began to
fall and that maybe we would miss it altogether. I joked that we might report
for our flight back to Georgia at the end of our trip and find the airport and
all the people gone. I thought of the book Earth Abides by George R. Stewart in
1949 where Isherwood Williams emerges from the mountains after narrowly
surviving a rattle snake bite to find all humans and most other animal species
dead from some unknown virus.

She was not appreciative of my lack of concern, after all this man had
88 proofs that he knew what would happen and exactly when. He claimed that all
the pieces fit. All the dates were adjusted for the changes of calendar that
had taken place over the last 1,988 years. He said that his analysis fit with
all 886 Biblical end-time prophecies. It was perfect. It was wrong.

His was to be the grandest terrestrial example of the Principle of
Imminent Collapse. In June he was reporting the dire events that would begin a
mere 3 months in the future. He even asserted "Can you see that it would have
been literally impossible for me to have imagined all this book and made it fit
my idea of the Bible, and yet fit all the above Bible limitations of God so
perfectly?" He spent 14 years working on the Biblical prophecies and their
timing to bring this work to fruition (just in time too.)

If the research and the conclusions actually can be made and the
answer be knowable, then it is possible that it is like a quadratic equation
where more than one set of mathematical variables solved the equation. Maybe it
was an example of the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty? Heisenberg theorized
that one cannot measure a natural phenomena without changing that which is
measured. He set forth that theory in connection with quantum physics, but in
also has wide reaching philosophical implications. For example if a doomsayer
predicts that the dam will burst due to internal flaws when it is filled, and
the authority half empties the dam, then it will not fail. Or if a man drives
60 MPH on the turnpike he will be at the site of a runaway truck at the moment
that it crosses his path, but his "overly concerned" wife implores him to slow
down a bit, and they and the truck will not meet.

So maybe since Mr. Whisenant figured out the whole divinely conceived
master plan for Man and the Earth, God had to change the plan to prove that Mr.
Whisenent was wrong. Or maybe in the face of Imminent Collapse, men around the
world softened their positions to say that they would not act so as to bring
about the end of civilizations as we know them. In any case, the Rapture did
not happen as "scheduled". WW III (nor WW IV and WW V or Armageddon ) did not
happen either.

"Of that day and hour knoweth no man " has been applied the return of
Jesus, the end of time of Man on Earth and a host of other Biblical
admonitions. But even at the simplest levels, no Man can even know the toss of
a coin more accurately that 50/50 chance. He cannot even know if he will be
alive and breathing in the next five minutes. So even the intense research and
publishing effort that went into the "88 Reasons" and its companion tome "On
Borrowed Time" suffered the fate provided by the Principle of Imminent Collapse.