Religion Magazine

The Rapture

By Ldsapologetics
The rapture doctrine was invented in 1830 in England by John Nelson Darby. It has since spread like wild fire throughout Protestant denominations worldwide and spawned a book fictional book series and movies called Left Behind.
There is little to no evidence that this theology was ever accepted or preached prior to Darby. But just because it's relatively new doesn't make it false. It would be in bad form as a Mormon for me to dismiss theology never heard of before 1830 would it not?
In the Left Behind series there is a character that is a pastor and his congregation is raptured but he is left behind. He cries out to God to be given another chance, to be used by God and to not be abandoned by Him.
This character resonates deeply with me. He says there is a difference between knowing and believing. There is also a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
Just because I know the teachings of Christ does not in and of itself mean that I am living them. So I do my best and I find the more often I live up to the teachings the easier it becomes to live them in the future.
The rapture doctrine teaches that followers of Christ, true believers, will be taken or raptured up to heaven to be in His presence and thereby avoid the seven years of tribulation when the AntiChrist reigns. And brings about hell on earth.
So this teaching is saying that true followers will get out of jail free rather than suffer through the hell the earth will become. But that goes against what being a follower of Christ is all about. Because as followers of Christ we ought to make it our mission to turn every hell we find into a heaven for all.
I heard a story once whose source has been lost to me. It follows three men who have just died. They find themselves in a desert at a fork in the road. And a heavenly being approached them on the sun scorched dirt road and asked them where they thought they belonged, heaven or hell?
Two of them chose heaven but the honest one chose hell. He thought he deserved to be there as he knew his sons were great, too great to be forgiven.
So the heavenly being showed him the way to hell.
When the man arrived in hell he saw broken down houses, rabid animals, thrives and murderers.
He quietly claimed a home. After sometime getting used to his surroundings he decided to renovate his home, then his neighbors and then other neighborhoods. Soon enough the streets were clean and so were the people.
They did business instead of stealing. They made friends instead of enemies. They cared more and hated less. They made a heaven out of what was once hell.
Then the heavenly being again appeared to the man who chose hell and made it a heaven. The being took the man to a hill and showed him another hell and said we need you, they need you to go to them and do for them what you have done here.
And the man accepted his call and began to walk to his new home and realized it would not be the last hell he would turn into a heaven.
This story is what Jesus would have us do on earth as it is in heaven. He would have us better the lives of all those we could. We by ourselves can not save the world but we can save on their, one drunk, one addict, one adulteress at a time. Gandhi said "What you do will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it."
Shakespeare said life is a stage and we a play our part. We are not meant to save the world. It has already been saved so to speak. We are meant to turn each hell we find into a heaven and then move to the next hell and do it again.
I feel that the rapture takes us away from that quintessential Christian mission of turning hell into heaven. By living the teachings we can turn our personal hells into our own heavens. We can transform ourselves completely and that is our greatest accomplishment. Next to helping others transform themselves. Our job as Christians is to be in the trenches with the poor, the outcast, the sinners, the thieves, the murderers and the adulterers tending to the wounded just as Jesus Himseld did. Not escaping from that job.
I liked my story about the man who turned hell into heaven much better that the story of the rapture or left behind series.
Which story do you prefer?
The Rapture

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