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The Terrifying Possibility of Being Raptured Before Our Wedding Nights

By Rachelmariestone @rachel_m_stone
The Rapture of the Church. Image courtesy Pat Marvenko Smith via Flickr Creative Commons.

The Rapture of the Church. Image courtesy Pat Marvenko Smith via Flickr Creative Commons.

Like other children raised in dispensationalist circles, if I couldn’t locate my parents — our parsonage home was large and sprawling — my paranoid ideation included the possibility that not only had God cosmically arranged for my orphanhood but had also simultaneously damned me to suffer seven years, or possibly an eternity, of torment.

Consequently, I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” many, many times over just to make sure I was really and truly “saved.”

As scary as the doctrine of the rapture was, for me it provided a tremendous source of comfort as well: the possibility that I might actually get to evade death. Instead of facing that most intractable of human inevitabilities, as dispensationalists, we could always hold out hope that the rapture would come before we drew our last breaths and said farewell to our loved ones and our very lives. Jesus might come and sweep us straight to heaven before the messiness of mortality sullied the sheets of our deathbeds.

However, while students at my dispensational college may have taken solace in this hope of evading death, being young adults steeped in evangelical purity culture meant that most of our preoccupations concerning the rapture had nothing to do with death, but with the even more terrifying possibility that we might be raptured before our wedding nights. Since people in heaven were “neither married nor given in marriage,” the prospect of entering into eternity without having even sampled that pleasure so fully celebrated in the Song of Songs was maybe even scarier than death.

Which, I need hardly say, tells us a lot about the priorities of college students.

{Just one fun selection from my latest post at OnFaith. Read it in its entirety here.}

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