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Left Behind?

by Barbara Early

Well, May 21st has come and gone, and surprise! We’re still here. Or maybe, like me, you weren’t so surprised.

If anyone is wondering what I’m talking about, a few folks had been buying billboards and advertising space, spreading the word that the Rapture, an event where Christ would return in the clouds and all Christians would be taken up to meet him in the air, would occur on May 21, 2011. Apparently it hasn’t. Yet.

I’m trying not to be a wise guy here. (For me, that’s a challenge.) I imagine a number of well-meaning Christians are still scratching their heads wondering what happened. And that has to be a painful thing. I too await his return. But it’s time to add Saturday to the increasing list of false alarms people have raised.

Despite those who say all publicity is a good thing, the predictions and their failure to perform can generate ridicule from the non-Christian community. Snarky comments come from all quarters, like “The Rapture is coming, and I have nothing to wear,” as heard on The View. A Seattle atheist group even created a Rapture Relief Fund and blood drive, to sustain the loss during all the floods, earthquakes, plagues and famine leading up to Armageddon. I do have to say, I like this quote a facebook friend of mine posted on his wall, "False prophets being wrong about eschatology is a sign of the End Times."

While it will take time for this to blow over—probably until someone sets the next date, Christians aren’t the only ones showing their gullibility. A certain group of vegetarians are a bit red-raced too. VegNews.com was recently discovered to be photo-shopping pictures of their food. While digital enhancement is not new or uncommon, vegetarians of every stripe were horrified to find out that those pictures of veggie burgers and other meat alternatives they were drooling over were (O the humanity!) stock photos of real meat.

Another addition to the photo-enhanced debate is the controversy surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate. Someone has been duped. Without taking sides in the controversy, it’s clear someone has taken time to stage an elaborate hoax. Some say the birth certificate has been photo-shopped. But if it is genuine, then the You-tube videos displaying the supposed layers are false.

Meanwhile the debate goes on in many places: Can we be certain Bin Laden is dead? Was pornography really found in his compound? Some still doubt we landed on the moon and Elvis is dead. While proofs swirl in every direction, one of the most elusive things in our society is truth. In a day where stories are spun to further agendas and pictures can be altered, how can one really know the truth?

Consider any bias. Demosthenes said, "A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." It's natural for Christians to look for the Lord's return, and it’s no odd coincidence that Democrats tend to believe that Obama’s birth certificate is genuine while Republicans tend to doubt. And I’m sure those vegans wanted to believe those meat substitutes looked and tasted just like the real thing.

Consider the source. In this day and age, a wise person is not going to believe everything he hears. (Proverbs 25:2) Regardless of political affiliation, a news report from any major affiliate is going to be more credible than that tidbit that arrives in your inbox prefaced by 27 forwards—even if the person who sent it guarantees he checked the story in SNOPES. And if the news is currently breaking, keep in mind that the story may change once all the details are known.

But there is one source we can rely on. Jesus said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” (John 14:6) And we can count on all his promises, including his promise to return again.

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. (Luke 12:40)

I also enjoyed this post from a friend's wall:

The world is not ending today. It is just being rebooted. Please be sure your security software is up to date. Run a full scan of your life and remove any malicious files which may be damaging your joy, stealing your hope, or slowing down your blessings. If you need more instructions, please refer to the users manual, readily available or put your hands together, bow your head and contact tech support.

Question of the Day: Have you ever fallen for a false report or a scam? Or maybe you’ve found one of God’s promises particularly comforting. Care to share?


Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and facebook scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. She taught secondary English and science for several years in a Christian school before home schooling her daughter successfully through high school. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy, and was a double finalist in the 2010 ACFW Genesis competition. When not reading or writing, she enjoys cooking, crafts, home-improvement projects, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Comments

  1. Where I grew up near Pittsburgh there is a historical little village called "Old Economy." In like the 1700 or 1800s, the Economites thought the rapture was coming. So they stopped marrying and everyone became celibate, and guess what, they died out. That always served as a cautionary tale to me.

    When I was younger I always worried that the rapture would come before I got married or had children. I don't want my kids to worry about things like that.

    And as for Obama, I think think the whole controversy is just dumb. If he's not a citizen, he should have been. It's just another reason for the political parties to fight.

    Seriously, all these ridiculous people need to find new hobbies, starting with the end times guy.

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  2. Dina, I never heard of Old Economy. I might need to check it out next time I'm near Pittsburgh.

    I think the Lord didn't give us a date so we would be always ready, but also so we would live normally as Christians to have a maximum impact on those around us--as they see the difference in a positive way. These predictions only encourages mocking.

    While teaching the imminent return of Christ to my daughter, I always tried to tell her that whatever we might miss out on earth would be rewarded by something much better. But since heaven is unknown, it's hard to desire what's behind door number two when you're enjoying what you have on earth.

    Now when the aches and pains come later in life, it starts looking better and better.

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  3. I honestly hadn't heard anything about the whole issue until Thursday. My first concern was for the bad name this would once again give the Christian community. However, as I've followed a few news reports, I am both relieved and astounded that reporters are giving both sides of the story. They are reporting about the "prophecy" but they are also sharing that many Christians didn't believe or follow it. That gives me some hope that the unsaved will see that it isn't ALL Christians who follow these mistakes.

    I pray for those who bought into this, some quite literally. I pray God's peace and love enfold them today.

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  4. Christine--good point.

    I just read a news story that one man--the retiree who poured all he had into advertising (140k)-- was standing in Times Square in the rain,to the jeers of those around him when his expected end didn't come. How sad.

    We need to be careful what we believe.

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  5. I recently came up with a new catchphrase: "Don't believe everything you believe." I don't mean to junk everything I believe, just that it's a good thing to ponder on the "why" of my beliefs every once in a while.

    I believe the Rapture will happen soon ~~ relatively speaking. When I saw the first billboard for 5/21 I was reminded that we wouldn't know the day it will happen. Knowing the date shouldn't change how we live or what we believe. We should live every day as if the Rapture will occur tomorrow.

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  6. Can I say that I kind of wish the rapture had come. Not because I wanted that fruitcake to be right, but I so want to be home right now.
    This world's okay, but I wouldn't mind leaving it behind.

    Even so come quickly Lord Jesus!

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  7. I should probably clarify that I didn't think it would come at that moment or hour. I never bought into Camping's claims, but I do want to be ready for when it does come, and the sooner the better as far as I'm concerned!

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  8. Tami--

    Good point! And it could be tomorrow, as long as somebody doesn't pick that date. ;)

    I tried to follow the reasons given for this last prediction, and all I could see were random calculations of what the theorist considered important numbers. And an assurance that he had 'special knowledge' withheld from previous generations.

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  9. Lisa,

    There have been a number of times in my life when I have felt like Cinderella, especially in certain ministry positions I've been involved in. You start serving the Lord, and someone is sure to come along and tell you how how you're doing it wrong. Then one day when I was praying about it, the old song "Someday My Prince Will Come" came into my head.

    I know I'm mixing my fairy tales, but I really do have a prince coming for me, to claim me (and all believers) as his bride! That's a joyous thing to wait for.

    Even if he comes before I ever get anything published.

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  10. I hadn't heard any of this until last Thurs when Nelson heard it on the news. Of course, my first question was, how can they predict that?

    My question hasn't changed.

    The scripture of 1 Thessalonians 5:2 says, 'for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

    And we all know that thieves don't announce their arrival with billboards and media attention.

    So really, it's beyond me how God-fearing, Bible-believing Christians can believe such a prediction. It goes against the Bible. Unless...

    ...unless... they're so filled with despair and heartache of their present situations they feel that by their volcanic display of belief God will take pity of them and change His plans.

    Not likely. God's word stands. And if the Rapture is going to be a surprise, you can bet your booties no one will know it's coming.

    Anita Mae.

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  11. Anita,

    Yes, it was amazing how much press this has gotten.

    I tried to tune into and hear how the 89 year old man who made the prediction came up with the date, and never quite got it. I suspect it has a bit to do with the fact that he's an 89 year old man.

    I also don't get how so many people just swallowed what he said without regard to long-standing, clear Bible promises. I suspect it happens when we allow a favorite teacher to replace our personal Bible study.

    Hopefully those who were so disappointed will not give up faith in God, but seek a clearer understanding through his Word.

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  12. I found out about the whole thing from some of my non-Christian FB friends (yes, I have non-Christian FB friends) when they started posting some of the rapture jokes.

    Camping's convoluted math equation for determining the date reminded me of something I heard a minister say once, "The Bible is so simple we need help to misunderstand it."
    When our theology starts to get complicated, something is probably wrong, IMO.

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  13. Niki, love that quote! I'm going to have to write that down.

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  14. Hi Barb!

    We may not have been raptured Saturday, but we had a pretty good day anyway, huh? It was great meeting you at the conference. I'm going to pop into that writing group soon.

    :)

    Joy

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  15. Hey, Joy!

    Nice to see you over here! And that was a great conference. I'd never had the pleasure of hearing Debra Dixon before. I think my brain is still full.

    Thanks for stopping by the Inkwell, and I'll see you soon!

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  16. I'm sorry to have missed that Debra Dixon conference but I was unable to make it due to a prior commitment (cooking all the food for a baby shower on Sat.) I would have loved to hang out with Joy and Barb. Did Julia go and did either of you get to meet Pat Iacuzzi?

    okay back to the Rapture.

    I left dirty dishes in the sink just in case Mr. Camping was right this time. My experience with God's sense of humor is that He might have chosen Friday instead...
    Maybe this Saturday?

    if nothing else, it got a lot of people talking about Biblical prophecy and God and some facts no one should ignore.

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  17. Yes, Deb, Julia was there.

    I saw Pat Iacuzzi and recognized the name, but didn't really get a chance to meet her. I had a couple other writers from my area there with me too. It was an amazing day. I wish you could have been there. But baby showers are a blessing too!

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  18. Great post, Barb. My son had an email that some people were planning to scatter clothes and shoes along sidewalks on Saturday to try and make people think it really happened. I do wonder what has to be going through the of Christians who know the Bible and still give up everything they own because they believe someone can actually predict the date of Christ's return. I hope their faith isn't damaged by this. I hope they are instead drawn closer, and I hope a good portion of non-believers were brought to faith because of this "prediction".

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