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> The Rapture is a Racket, by request


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Posted: Oct 2 2004, 11:28 PM
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The Rapture Racket

What if the Book of Revelation doesn’t mandate death,
destruction and the annihilation of all but true believers?

by Bill Berkowitz
www.dissidentvoice.org

September 22, 2004


“The rapture is a racket,” writes Barbara R. Rossing in the first sentence of her recently published book The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation (Westview Press, 2004). Rossing, a New Testament scholar and an associate professor at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, maintains that the Rapture is a fraud of monumental proportions, as well as a disturbing way to instill fear in people.

“Whether prescribing a violent script for Israel or survivalism in the United States, this theology distorts God's vision for the world,” Rossing writes. “In place of healing, the Rapture proclaims escape. In place of Jesus' blessing of peacemaking, the Rapture voyeuristically glorifies violence and war. [...] This theology is not biblical. We are not Raptured off the earth, nor is God. No, God has come to live in the world through Jesus. God created the world, God loves the world, and God will never leave the world behind!”

What if the Book of Revelation doesn’t spell doom and gloom? What if it doesn’t mandate the death, destruction and annihilation of all but true believers? What will Rapture-mongers do?

The Rev. Tim LaHaye and his co-author Jerry Jenkins are as responsible as anyone for taking The Rapture mainstream. Their Left Behind series of apocalyptic novels, published by Tyndale House, have sold nearly 60 million copies and for several years have been regular staples on the fiction best seller lists across the country. The final volume in the 12-volume series, Glorious Appearing, was released this spring and it quickly found its way onto the best seller lists.

The Rev. LaHaye -- a longtime, high-profile religious right political leader who co-founded The Moral Majority with Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1979 -- does the novels’ imagining, while Jenkins, the author of more than 100 books including Out of the Blue with former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser and Just As I Am, the Rev. Billy Graham's memoir, does the writing.

Their message is a variation of President Bush’s “Either you’re with us, or you’re with them” war against terrorism mantra: Either you accept Jesus Christ as your savior or, the Rev. LaHaye told CNN’s Larry King, you will be left behind.

The phrase “left behind” derives from “the Christian fundamentalist belief in the Rapture [also known as the End of Days] that is, at the sound of a trumpet, Jesus will soon appear in the clouds to take believers up to meet him, thus escaping the horrible calamities foretold in the Book of Revelation,” writes Guy Manchester in Freedom Writer. Manchester, the author of Acts of the Apostles, a novel about theocracy in America, maintains that Rapturists believe that those who aren't lifted up will be left behind to suffer the consequences of “The Great Tribulation,” a seven-year period, the last three and a half years of which will contain great suffering and devastation. Jews, amongst others, will be left behind to suffer, but before it's over “144,000 of them will accept Jesus as their savior. The rest will perish.”

For true believers -- and there are many millions in the United States -- the Rapture is a glorious prospect. Some fundamentalist Christians see the war in Iraq and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as a foreshadowing of the coming of the Rapture, and as a way to speed up the end of times. The Rapture scenario is what many believe drives evangelical Christians to demonstrate their unwavering support for Israel. Rossing, who supports states for both Jews and Palestinians writes: “... the new movement of 'Christian Zionism' is a militant all-or-nothing kind of Zionism that scripts Israel as a player in the dispensationalist Christian end-times drama in a way that baffles even Israelis.”

Then, there are the prophets making profits off the Rapture. “Usually the doomsday prophecies are reasonably harmless,” Bryan Zepp Jamieson wrote in an April essay for zeppscommentaries.com. “A small group of people hole up somewhere for the rapture, and when it doesn’t happen, they just figure their leader made a mistake in the arithmetic, and most go right on believing. Sometimes the leader convinces his followers that the way to not get left behind is by signing everything they own over to the leader, and come the day of reckoning, the group finds that they got left behind in a different sort of way.”

“They (the Left Behind series) are instilling this terrible fear in children that people are going to be left behind. It is not biblical. There is no rapture in the Bible,” Rossing told The Rutherford Institute's Whitehead.

“9/11 was a wake up call to America,” the Rev. LaHaye told Morley Safer in his 60 Minutes II interview. “Suddenly, our false sense of security was shaken. Now we realize we're vulnerable. And that fear can lead many people to Christ.”

“I see many signs of the Lord’s return. This could be the generation that’s going to hear Jesus shout from the heaven, and we’ll respond, to be with him. And you don’t want your loved ones to be left behind,” he pointed out.

In an interview with The Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead, Barbara Rossing turns the tables on the Rapture faithful who see death, annihilation and years of terror: “I was on 60 Minutes [II] with [the Rev.] Tim LaHaye, [and] he said that liberals have created this loving, wimpy Jesus and that we need the judgmental, warrior Jesus. The big question now is what is the true image of Jesus? A loving Jesus is not wimpy. A loving Jesus is precisely who Jesus is, and that is how he is portrayed in the Gospels.”

Rather than scare the living daylights out of folks, the book of Revelation actually aims “to comfort and inspire Christians to a vision of hope,” Rossing stated. “In the early Roman Empire, when it looked like violence was getting out of hand -- much like things today -- it was a message to people that the empire would not last much longer and that the Emperor was not the one in charge of the world. Jesus is in our midst, but He is not the avenging warrior Jesus. Jesus is the lamb who is leading us to a different way of life -- one espousing love.”

The Left Behind series has helped launch an extraordinarily profitable cottage industry, where there’s no shortage of new products and spin-offs: Left Behind II: Tribulation Force -- the second Left Behind movie starring Kirk Cameron -- is now available on DVD; The Left Behind Prophecy Club is a fee-based website and newsletter designed “to help people understand how current events may actually relate to End Times prophecy;” “In a world where madmen rule, the voice of God will not be silenced,” reads the promotional blurb for Jerry Jenkins’ latest novel titled Silenced (Book 2 in the SOON trilogy).

For those looking for up-to-the-minute Rapture scorecards, Webmaster Todd Strandberg has created The Rapture Index, which he somewhat playfully calls a “Dow Jones Industrial Average of End Time activity.” The Rapture Index tracks of a number of indicators, aimed at gauging how bad things are on earth. Included in the mixed bag of categories or “indicators” are: Bible-related categories which include False Christs, Satanism, the Mark of the Beast and The Anti-Christ; financial indicators, including stats on unemployment, inflation, interest rates, and oil prices; cultural issues including drug use, liberalism, and civil rights; and then, there are your natural disasters -- earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, plagues and drought.

Two weeks after 9/11, “the index hit an all-time high of 182... as the bandwidth nearly melted under the weight of 8 million visitors,” Time magazine reported. As of September 13, the index stood at 151, the highest number this year. (Interestingly, the record low number, 93, was registered on December 12, 1993, the end of Bill Clinton's first year as president.)

Comparing the theme of the “Left Behind” series to ethnic cleansing, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote: “If a Muslim were to write an Islamic version of 'Glorious Appearing' and publish it in Saudi Arabia, jubilantly describing a massacre of millions of non-Muslims by God, we would have a fit.” Kristoff added that “It's disconcerting to find ethnic cleansing celebrated as the height of piety.”

~~~~~~~


I think the last paragraph says it all. It really disturbs me when christians gleefully tell me how 'god is going to get me' for not following their religion.


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Posted: Oct 18 2004, 04:37 AM
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Hi Wahya,

"It really disturbs me when christians gleefully tell me how 'god is going to get me' for not following their religion."

Take comfort in that those who say things like this to anybody will be in much more distress than they could ever cause you when their LORD gathers then for judgement.

It is very easy to spot a true Christian from those who say they are, but are not. The true ones do not use words, it is their actions that identify them with Christ.

Lu:6:46:
And why call ye me,
Lord,
Lord,
and do not the things which I say?

Which is this, basically, and deals only with those who call themselves Christians but in reality belong to the above verse;

M't:25:41:
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me,
ye cursed,
into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels:
M't:25:42:
For I was an hungred,
and ye gave me no meat:
I was thirsty,
and ye gave me no drink:
M't:25:43:
I was a stranger,
and ye took me not in:
naked,
and ye clothed me not:
sick,
and in prison,
and ye visited me not.
M't:25:44:
Then shall they also answer him,
saying,
Lord,
when saw we thee an hungred,
or athirst,
or a stranger,
or naked,
or sick,
or in prison,
and did not minister unto thee?
M't:25:45:
Then shall he answer them,
saying,
Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these,
ye did it not to me.
M't:25:46:
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:
but the righteous into life eternal.


Because you have a wolf pic I was wondering if you can find all seven wolves in this pic http://jokes-r-uss.tripod.com/howling.jpg (wish I could have found a clearer pic as it is quite cool)


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Posted: Oct 18 2004, 01:33 PM
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Hmm...I went to that URL an all I got was a blank page that said 'Image hosted by Tripod' in the corner. teleport.gif


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Posted: Oct 18 2004, 02:07 PM
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Wahya, I am so glad to see this posted! Yipeeee! I have long thought that the "rapture" talk is a bunch of hooey. For one thing, I cannot picture billions of people who have died, and those still live on this planet, that have NEVER had the gospel preached to them, all being damned to hell, and their little children with them. That is the most unkind thinking that I could possibly imagine. How little those who espouse that deviant theology must think about their fellow man.

I loved this:

QUOTE
Lu:6:46:
And why call ye me,
Lord,
Lord,
and do not the things which I say?


One of the things Jesus said was DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. Another was LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF.

It would be more practical to think on those things instead of planning on bailing off of this planet.

BJ



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Posted: Oct 18 2004, 02:52 PM
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I found the pic by going to google.ca (I'm in Canada) then went to images and typed in seven wolves, that was the second picture that came up (wolf in foreground and mountain in background (which contain at least two pictures of wolves)


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Posted: Oct 18 2004, 04:12 PM
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hey all, I would like to say a few things about this "rapture" that today's churches believe...

First, take a look at how did this theory began:

In port Glasgow, Scotland, in the Spring of the year A.D. 1830, a bedridden woman had a revelation on her sick bed, supposedly from God, in where she was shown what has become to be known as "The Rapture Of The Church." Prior to this day, the concept of an 'at any moment, fly away doctrine' (Rapture) was unknown. Within the first few paragraphs of her monumental Scripture-riddled statement. Ms. Macdonald makes an ominous statement about her vision, in that at first, at the time of the vision, it felt as though there was "Great darkness" and "Error" about it. This is something they will not teach you from the false pulpits of the beguiled Rapture Churches.

Here is a statement made by this woman: "I felt this needed to be revealed, and that there was great darkness and error about it; but suddenly what it was burst upon me with a glorious light." (Margaret MacDonald, Spring of 1830)

Ms. MacDonald then goes on to outline a series of 'visions' now known as the Rapture Doctrine. The spirit world is very real, but there is the Holy Spirit of God and there are satan's evil spirits, demons and the like. This is why the Bible strictly prohibits the conjuring up of spirits and communicating with the dead (Necromancy). Margaret Macdonald might well have been visited by a spirit on her sick bed that day, an evil spirit!

I Jn 4:1
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (KJV)

Just as the young girl below who though she was visiting with the Mother Mary. Observe below as satan fulfils the Scripture: "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" {2 Cor 11:14}:

"He was ugly, horribly ugly. You cannot imagine how ugly, he almost killed me with his gaze, I almost fainted. Then Satan went away and Our Lady came and said to me: "...renew the use of holy water, wear blessed objects and holy objects and put them in your homes." " (Mirjana Dragicevic, describing a Mother Mary Apparition in Medjugorje Yugoslavia, on April 14, 1982)

After Macdonald's vision was made known in town, two preachers heard of it, repackaged it as their own and sold it to the world. Hence, the ungodly Rapture 'Doctrine' is born in the Spring of A.D. 1830. There is some indication that the Roman Catholic Jesuit priesthood had some hand in this but as of now I cannot satisfactorily document this.

It seems that God's people just love to 'latch-on' to some new thing, some new revelation, some new doctrine. But in their desire to be 'special' or 'more inspired' than the next Christian they set them selves up to be deceived by satan. Satan works best within the vanities of man:

1 Tim 4:1
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (KJV)

2 Tim 4:2-4
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (KJV)

--------------

Wings ~

Ps. I made a small resume of this page: http://www.biblestudysite.com/rapture.htm,
hope this helps someone who believe blindly in this theory. reading2.gif






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"Those who know nothing about history are doomed forever to repeat it."
~ Will Durant

"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed,
and third, it is accepted as self-evident."
~ Arthur Schopenhauer
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Posted: Oct 18 2004, 04:16 PM
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Hi BJ1,

"It would be more practical to think on those things instead of planning on bailing off of this planet."

No shit, luckily I had read enough Scripture before even hearing about a rapture, especially a pre-trib one which would be the equivelent of a "get out of jail free card". That is just not the way God (in this case our Shepherd Christ) works, When on Earth Jesus showed His apostles many things that nobody else saw. Their belief in Him was grew stronger the more they witnessed but even with all their time with Him they were more often confounded by His words than they understood, but only up until they were baptised by the Holy Spirit. Something that ever human ever born will have happen to them, some not untill Judgement Day (all of Heb:12, well worth the read).

Anyway back to no rapture from tribulation.

Who would Christ want around Him, those who have seen His power against satan (and how a few words from Him is enought to utterly destroy all satan has built in his 42 mo.

Whose faith (as in be worthy of being followed, with absolute safey, no matter where) would be stronger, somebody who witnessed these events or missed 'this phase', certainly nobody who missed this would not be very comfortable when it is satan and all his fallen angels are released just before Judgement Day. An army that numbers as 'sands of the sea' is many times greater than the one of 200 mil. when the four bound angels are released.

Two verses held my interest (concerning where I would end up) ;

Ro:3:10: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

(includes all so-called Christians, including myself)

M't:12:31: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

(most are given the chance to accept Christ as LORD, only a very select few will be denied this, those who commit unforgivable sins)

M't:21:32: For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

It will, again be the "lesser of humanity" who accept Christ first again.


Even if the trib will not occur for another two thousand years my conduct towards others should remain the same as if I knew it was tomorrow (which I don't).


Saying these things has got me kicked off more than a few 'Christian boards'.




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