Caught Up In The Rapture
When I was in Northwestern, PA to visit my family, I made a trip into Ohio to get gas. I saw a billboard announcing that the world was to end on May 21st. As the day grew closer, I found out this was all based on the words of one radio fundamentalist,
The day came and went with no incidents, and this preacher and his followers are likely left trying to explain why? But a better question is, why does the Rapture and the end of days so fascinate people.
The Bible is full of prophecy about the end of days, both Testaments have their warnings about the end of the world and the coming kingdom of God. The Book of Revelation is probably the best example, but many of the books of the Old Testament also speak of the coming kingdom.
These prophecies have inspired writers, the Left Behind saga being a fairly recent example. They have been analyzed and interpreted in books and on pulpits. This belief may also shape how many on the Right view Middle East, and even environmental policies.
This fascination I think has its roots in two ideas. The first one is that the idea that only those deemed worthy will be lifted up. This idea of being 'set apart' seems to me to be a common idea among many fundamentalists. That only those who believe in that particular preacher will be lifted up and deemed worthy. All others will be left to survive or be destroyed.
It's this second idea that I think may be at the heart of the belief in the rapture. The idea that those who are evil will be destroyed. The problem is what, or who, many fundamentalists see as 'evil'.
To many fundamentalists, those who are 'evil' are anyone who is different. If you're a woman who believes that they should be more than a servant of husband, you're a harlot. You a homosexual, you're a deviant. Believe in Islam, you're a terrorist. Believe in a different flavor of Christianity, especially one that believes in tolerance of these 'others', you're a heretic. All of these people will be destroyed and the world will belong to the worthy.
Never mind that the Bible is full of prohibitions against adding or removing from the scripture, and that 'No one knows the day or hour'.