The term rapture refers to a passage in the New Testament which says not all of us all will die normally, but some will be changed into our spiritual bodies and taken up to heaven. From The Message:
I Corinthians 15:51-57 But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal.
There is no sure time frame for this in the New Testament so there are many different opinions about the date. But to hear a lot of modern preachers you’d think it could be tomorrow morning.
Perhaps so. But that is not what is bothering me. I see folks using the rapture as a great escape. As in “I don’t need to worry about my creeping debt limit – at the rapture I leave all my bills behind.” Another version is “I am satisfied with what I am doing for God – maybe not much – but I don’t fear the future as I’ll be raptured.”
But if this miraculous escape doesn’t happen …. then the bills and the problems are still there, right? This is not life fulfilling, but life avoidance.
Jesus did not tell us to sit around on our assumptions but to get to work on His Kingdom: make disciples of all nations, preach the word, heal the sick, cast out demons, and even raise the dead, worship, praise, comfort, visit prisoners, and care for parents. Honor – that’s a reference to money – your parents and pray for your leadership. The Rapture theory gives some an excuse for not fulfilling their responsibilities from everything to not voting to not going to church.
Not one word from God about being “at ease” or waiting it out.
What bothers me about all this is – not just that the scripture does not tell us specifically when this will be – but that it is a reflection of Buddhist teaching.
Buddhism is not really a religion although it is treated as such; it is a way of life. It focuses on gaining peace in the inner man. Buddhists are societal drop outs for the most part. They avoid conflict, stay to themselves, devote time to multiple prayers, fasting and staying away from trouble. It gives me great joy to see the Dalai Lama (Chief Buddhist Priest) in this world never backing down to the Chinese about stealing Tibet. Good. It is a proactive work for a non-proactive group.
The Communist Chinese government attacked Buddhism originally as a religion. In the past few years they changed their minds and encouraged it because Buddhists go along with the communist dictatorship.
But Jesus always put us in the position for challenging evil wherever we found it. Have you seen any Christians turning over money-changing tables recently? a metaphor for dealing with the corrupt monetary system. Well a few do.
It is infecting American society at a time when elitism and entitlements are defining who we are. Jesus Himself did not take the easy way out. And we are called to be and do in this world as He was. “As my father has sent me, so send I you.”