There Will Be No Rapture!

I usually save matters of religious significance for my Bible blogs, but since Harold Camping's failed prediction of the coming of the rapture has been in the secular news, it is worth commenting on here.  The tragic thing here is not that there wasn't any rapture.  The Bible does not teach that doctrine; there will never be an event where only some people (believers) will disappear from the earth, leaving the rest to muddle through until the "Battle of Armageddon" and the subsequent 1,000 year (millennial) reign of Christ on earth.  That is NOT going to happen.  Much of this doctrine comes from a profound misunderstanding of the New Testament book of Revelation.  I invite readers to study the materials presented in my "Book of Revelation" blog, which I believe gives an historical and Biblically-sound explanation of that book.

No, again, the tragic thing is not Camping's failed prophecy.  The tragic thing is that it leaves Christianity (a very false form thereof) open to mockery and ridicule.  The world doesn't distinguish true Christianity from counterfeits like Camping's.  Skeptics will lump all "Christian" doctrines together and proclaim the whole religion false.  Stephen Hawking, one of the leading atheistic scientists, who may have as many worshippers as Jehovah, has taken this opportunity to write an article about how there is no heaven.  Camping did nothing but add fuel to that already flaming belief among the world's non-believers.  It is incredibly frustrating to those who know what the Bible truly teaches and who knew very good and well that Camping's prediction was false. 

This is not just a matter of differing "interpretations" of the Bible.  The Bible has certainly been "interpreted" in countless ways, but all of them but one are wrong!   That may sound elitist, but it's not--it's a matter of common sense.  When God wrote the Bible, He had one meaning in mind, not 1,000; it is inherently impossible for the God of Truth to contradict Himself.  Thus, there is only one true "interpretation" of Scripture.   Men may misunderstand the Bible differently.  But if they understand it, they will understand it alike because it means only one thing.  And it is up to us to be humble and open minded enough to accept what God says, regardless of where it may lead us.  And it won't lead us to a "rapture."

One also must feel some degree of sympathy--but not much--for Camping's followers.  They put their faith in a man, not in God, and the man, not surprisingly, let them down.  This is why I say our sympathy is limited.  Camping's followers have Bibles.  Let them study that, not a human's doctrine.  If they had done so in the first place, they wouldn't have been swept away by this egregiously false prediction.  Hopefully, many--including Camping himself--will have the wisdom and humility to come to a knowledge of the truth.

The Lord Jesus Christ is indeed coming back (Acts 1:11).  We do not know when (Matt. 24:36), but when He does, "every eye will see Him" (Rev. 1:7), not just a few.  All in the graves--good and bad--will hear Him and rise to whatever eternity awaits them (John 5:28-29).  The righteous who are alive upon His return will ascend to meet Him in the air (I Thess. 4:17).  This is not a difficult Biblical doctrine, but it often seems that the simplest are the easiest to pervert.  The world will continue to mock, but there WILL BE a second coming of Christ.  I don't know when that will be and nobody else does, either.  So the only recourse is to always be ready.

Incidentally, the fact that false teachers exist in abundance is another evidence of the Bible's inspiration, for it has repeated announcements of their presence (I Tim. 4:1; II Tim. 4:2-3; I Peter 2:1-2; Jude 3).  If we fall for their nonsense, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  We can't even blame Stephen Hawking.