The Rapture - What Do We Know About It
Harold Camping in the News
There has been a lot in the news recently about Harold Camping, who runs the Family Radio network. His followers, estimated in the thousands, anxiously awaited May 21, 2011 as the day the earth as we know it would be essentially destroyed. Of course, because I'm writing this on May 26, it's obvious that didn't happen.
The failed prediction of Harold Camping brings to mind a few questions.
- Why do people attempt to predict an official end of the world?
- What do the scriptures really teach about the rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?
While it's difficult for me to answer the first question - I'd venture to say that the attention they get from being radical and influencing others to follow them is something the doomsdayers crave - I do have some information on what Jesus Christ has taught about the end of the world.
Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Some Background - Jesus' First Coming
When the Savior was born among the Jews 2000 years ago, one of the main reasons he wasn't recognized for who he was had to do with some misunderstanding of his role. The Jews were expecting someone to come and liberate them from the Romans. They seemed to ignore what was taught in Isaiah 53, namely that the Messiah would live among them as a meek and lowly lamb.
It wouldn't be until his Second Coming that the Messiah would become the King of Israel.
The Rapture is one Part of the Second Coming Prophecy
Know One Will Know the Day Nor the Hour
A common scripture referenced in regards to the Second Coming and the accompanying rapture is Matthew 24:36, which says:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Harold Camping's prediction of the rapture seems to have flown in the face of this teaching of Jesus Christ while he was on the earth. I heard a person on the radio attempting to reason as to why this verse didn't apply to the prediction, but I didn't follow the reasoning.
Despite the teaching that no one will know the hour nor the day when the Savior will return, there were distinct signs given in preparation for his return. Here are some of them:
- There will be false prophets and false Christs who would deceive may people - Matthew 24:11, 23-24
- There would be a noticeable increase in natural disasters and calamities - Matthew 24:6, 27 and Mark 13:5-8
- The gospel of Jesus Christ would be preached throughout the earth. Until the invention of modern technology like the Internet (which allows you to read this Hub, miles away from where I'm writing it), it was impossible to reach such a wide audience throughout the world.
Other signs foretell the Second Coming of the Savior. As the time draws near, the signs become clearer and accelerated.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Rapture - Caught up Into Heaven
Appearances of Jesus Christ previous to his great Second Coming have occurred. He, along with God the Father, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820 to establish his Church upon the earth in preparation for his Second Coming.
The scriptures also teach that the Savior will make a personal appearance at the Mount of Olives just previous to his Second Coming.
When the time comes for Jesus Christ to come back and reign as King upon the earth, the righteous people who live on the earth will be caught up into heaven to meet him. They will return to the earth with him as quickened (glorified) personages. Also, the New Jerusalem (the ancient city of Enoch) will be brought back to the earth.