Have you seen any of those rapture broadcast messages going round? The most popular one seems to be about a pastor and an old man who turns out to be an angel. I don’t believe that story, not because it cannot happen but because it seems too calculated to me.
Anyone who writes has an idea to pass across, all communication is the exchange of thought and the best communicators are those who can pass their message across in a clear and engaging manner.
Any writer worth his salt knows the kind of reaction that he/she is trying to evoke in their readers even before they start writing. If you do not know this before you begin to write then you have a problem from the start. The best writers are those who manage to evoke maximum reactions and that is the problem I have with that story, it is designed to induce fear.
While I understand the need to rouse a largely apathetic world to the reality of the second coming of Christ with such messages and prophesies, the fear that comes as a reaction to the messages cannot sustain anyone on a Christian journey. Just as a child becomes older and begins to fear his parents’ wrath and punishment less because he knows that it is becoming physically harder to punish him/her so will the fear of rapture fade in the new convert and he’ll begin to long for his old ways.
God does not even want anyone to serve him out of fear, 2Tim 1:7 puts it this way
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind- KJV
The sequence of that verse is very important, those three things are the only weapons against fear. Power will always win fear, Perfect love will drive out all fear and a rational mind will not even entertain fear. What he wants from us is our love and devotion, our companionship and service without which we cannot follow him effectively.
Since the time of Jesus, there have been many prophecies about the second coming of Christ. Some of them even giving dates and time, however the bible does not support this. Matt 24:36
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
While there are many signs of the coming of Jesus, there is no way to narrow it down. For two thousand years it has been said that he’s coming soon and people have done all sorts of things in that frenzy. If you google end of the world, you’ll see stories of people who have sold their earthly goods and given up on jobs just because a prophecy came that Jesus is coming on a certain day.
Jesus might come this night or in a hundred years from now but it really doesn’t matter because the Christian life isn’t just about rapture, it’s about living a life that represents God and his glory and leading others to him. The most important reason Christ died for us isn’t to make heaven but to reconcile us to the father while we are on earth and to restore us to the status quo before the fall of man in Genesis 3:8
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
God had such a close relationship with man that he’d come down from heaven in the evening to gist with man and have fellowship. After the fall of man, a chasm was created between God and man and that closeness was lost. Man had to communicate with God through prophets, burnt offerings and sacrifices. The death of Jesus on the cross tore the veil between God and man, we can walk with him in fellowship and sweet communion here on earth and we will continue that in heaven. If the purpose of Jesus’s death is for heaven alone then the choice would have been given to us just before we die.
It is easier for a twenty five year old to obey his/her parents willingly than a five year old, why? Even though the twenty five year old will not be punished by his/her parents, he knows that his parents love him and will not knowingly lead him astray while the five year old who can still be disciplined severely will find it much harder to obey because he/she cannot see the big picture and might only obey because he/she will not like to be punished. Anyone who has taken care of children will attest to the fact that even after many beatings, most children will go back to repeat the same thing that led to their punishment.
Instead of preaching a gospel of fear, why not preach the gospel of power, love and a sound mind. I understand the sense of urgency that leads to sharing these broadcasts but if we do not balance it with the other parts of the salvation story then we are fear mongers and the gospel of fear will fade once there’s a new issue in the person’s mind.
May God help us to glorify him through our lives and to walk in close communion with him, now and in heaven.