Monday, April 06, 2009
Raptureitis: A Virus In The Body
Raptureitis (rap-shur-i-tis) - the desire to escape rather than overcome and/or endure; the belief and expectation of removal before the arrival of opposition; often associated with unwillingness to suffer hardship
Signs and Symptoms of Raptureitis
1. You love sermons about leaving behind this “sinful and wretched” world.
2. You close your eyes, plug your ears and sing "Sweet Beulah Land" when someone challenges the rapture theory.
3. Your favorite book series is “Left Behind”.
4. You have a “this vehicle will be abandoned at the rapture” bumper sticker on your car.
5. Your favorite movies are the “Left Behind” trilogy.
6. You cringe at the mention of words like “endure”, “overcome” and “persecution”.
7. You have wondered what it will look like when your clothes lie in a pile on the floor after you vanish.
8. You privately enjoy thinking about how the “lost” will get their due punishment when you’re out of here.
9. You never scan your own food at the supermarket because you’re afraid the barcode might be the mark of the beast.
10. You'd rather be whisked away into "heaven" than stand and be an overcomer in the face of adversity.
If you find yourself with multiples of the preceding symptoms, please consult your Bible immediately. It is not recommended that you call your pastor, deacon or elder as they likely suffer from advanced symptoms of the virus (often in greater quantity). Please take notice – symptoms may appear to lay dormant for years. Symptoms are often triggered by adverse world events, personal tragedies and “church revival services”. The virus is often passed on via past generations. It is recommended that you do not operate a motor vehicle that would be left unattended upon your sudden evacuation from the earth. Please use caution if you have been diagnosed, as side effects have been documented to greatly debilitate the Body of Christ.
The Serious Side of the Virus
Sometimes satire is good way to get a point across, I believe. But to get to the serious side of things, many people say to me, “But Joel, wouldn’t you rather be raptured? Why would you want to be ‘left behind’ and encounter such calamity and tribulation?” My response to this is what my response is for absolutely everything that I arrive as being biblical truth, and where few seem to understand. It is NOT ABOUT WHAT WE WANT… it is about seeking and studying the Word and seeing what God says about it - period. My “preference” has absolutely nothing to do with what is and what is not. Although I’ve spent ample time studying the subject, this article is not about debating theology and doctrines.
My purpose is soley to address the mindset of the pre-tribulation rapture.
To me, this is the issue more than the doctrine. The church’s embrace of escape versus enduring for the cause of Christ appalls me. The majority blindly place their hope in a “pre-anything troublesome” rapture than take the time to study to see if it is even so. Few will even discuss the matter. They will not be here and that is final.
While the organizations, evangelists and pastors blare to the “lost” world “What if Jesus came back tonight and raptured His Church away?” I ask the Body of Christ, “What if He doesn’t? What if you encounter persecution and even personal harm because you stand for the name of Jesus, The Christ? What then? Will you still embrace Christianity?” But people seemingly think that even the thought of this is just plain absurd. “Oh God would never allow such a thing! He doesn’t want His Church to suffer!” Oh really, have you read what happened to those who stood for Christ in your Bible? And what about Believers who today will have their hands and feet cut off in other countries for the name of Christ? Does God not love them enough to “rapture” them out of there?
My displeasure is that the Body as a whole is not ready to endure. She is not ready to stand, for She is ready for one thing… to be whisked away from it all so that God can “execute judgment upon the sinners who don’t go to ‘church’ and have denied Him.” Again, it’s the mindset that I’m after - the error of believing that it is not even possible that the Church would ever have to face what the followers of Christ in days of old endured for their beliefs. Would you at least be willing to consider that it is possible? Most will not.
To wrap this up, if you’ve personally studied the rapture theory and believe it is what The Word states as fact, then I honestly commend you! I mean that with all that of my heart, seriously. A handful of the most godly men and women that I know embrace the pre-tribulation rapture theory. But, with that being said, they believe it because they have personally studied it, not because they “just do”.
If you’ve formed your opinions based on Hal Lindsey or John Hagee because it sounds more appealing, I encourage you to take the time to study it for yourself with The Word alone as your workbook. Don’t just read viewpoints that favor and endorse what you already believe! Don’t just pick out the two or three verses that are always used to support the common rapture theory and stop there. Read and study The Word! Look into the original texts and meanings. I'm amazed at how so many will endorse the theory with fury and become quite angry when anyone asks why, yet when you do ask why they believe it to be so, they really have no idea beyond a verse or two, at best. Verses that they were told by someone else to mean what they now embrace as absolute.
Know what you believe and why! Own and possess your truth! I say Body of Christ, STOP RELYING ON WHAT EVERYONE ELSE TELLS YOU TO BELIEVE! KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE AND WHY FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
There is only one known antidote for this virus that has plagued the Body for ages – a complete surrender of one’s personal will, accompanied by a hunger for The Word of God and a desire to please the LORD, no matter what comes. Those who have placed their hope in God alone and grasp the realities of the Kingdom of God have made great strides in leaving behind the affects of raptureitis. As one continues to develop and cultivate their relationship with the LORD, it seems that the symptoms slowly begin to dissipate and do not return. Cases of remission have been documented when some have returned to a life of fear and submission to carnal thinking and worldly mindsets. It has been determined that unless one is biblically born from above, he/she is not capable of possessing immunity to raptureitis.