Huffpost Religion
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Steve McSwain Headshot

The Rapture of the Church and the Upcoming Presidential Election

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Either America will elect the "right" person in the upcoming election (which for most fundamentalist Christians is almost anyone other than the current president) or America, and the world, should prepare for the end, commonly referred by them as "The Rapture."

As you might know, in the worldview of many Christians, mostly fundamentalist Christians, moral relativism and political unrest are signs that the end is near. Each time there is an election, for example, or an increase in the frequency of natural disasters and/or political and social unrest, there is a noticeable increase in frequency with which these church leaders talk about the end of the world, especially in terms of the Rapture.

The Rapture is a belief system about how human history will end. At its core, its proponents believe that believers in Jesus, or the church, will be "raptured," or snatched up from the surface of the earth and gathered together in the clouds, just prior to the Great Tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist. What "Rapturist" proponents do not tell you, however, most likely because they do not know, is that the Rapture is not taught anywhere in Bible.

Nowhere. Nada.

The only vague reference to anything remotely close to the idea of Rapture is found in Saint Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians. But there Saint Paul is trying to reassure people that they were eternal, not temporal, since most of them had grown up in a world that had little or no confidence in an afterlife.

Given the preoccupation of people in the West, however, with thoughts about and a belief in an afterlife, it is impossible to imagine a world that had little or no confidence in it. But, this was the situation Saint Paul addressed. As a result, his purpose in writing these words was to reassure the Thessalonian followers of Jesus that there is life beyond this one. Apart from this purpose, however, the differences in interpretations about future events, known as eschatology among theologians, as well as the type and timing of future events, quickly morphs into an incomprehensible pattern of nonsense.

There are those, for example, who call themselves pre-millennialists, others who are post-millennialists, and still others who identify themselves as amillennialists. But, even this only scratches the surface of eschatological madness. Among the pre-millennialists, there are Historic pre-millennialists and dispensational pre-millennialists. And, if that were not confusing enough, among the dispensational pre-millennialists, there are progressive dispensational pre-millennialists as well as the pre-tribulation dispensational pre-millennialists. It's confusing. It's nonsense. And, it is insane. (From the book, The Enoch Factor).

Just as nobody knows the outcome of the upcoming election, nobody knows what will happen in the future. Jesus said as much (Matt. 24:36). What we do know is that our choices today determine our legacy tomorrow. This, in the East, is Karma, known in the West as "sowing and reaping."

In many places, the church today continues to marginalize itself with its insane preoccupation with a return to the practices of the past and its preoccupation with the events of the future. Living in the present, however, is the way and teaching of Jesus, as well as every other spiritual master throughout history. It is unfortunate, as Erik Reece has pointedly observed in An American Gospel, "The relevance of Christianity to most Americans...has far more to do with the promise of eternal salvation from this world than with any desire to practice the teachings of Jesus while we are here."

Around the Web

The Pretribulation Rapture

What is the Rapture of the church?

The Rapture of the Church - Prophecy Forum

Rapture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Rapture of the Church - Contender Ministries

Chapter 4: The Rapture of the Church