136 thoughts on “Cuidado”

    1. Has anyone ever ruled on where in the world it is that you would start looking to the western sky? I assume in India for example it would be more beneficial to look west?

        1. I once tried to make a list of all the Mr. Jones I could find in popular music. A surprising number, most popularly Talking Heads and Counting Crows. All allusions to Dylan, methinks.

        1. Cuidado is a noun that means “care” in both Spanish and Portuguese.

          In the sense it is used here, it has actually been colloquially shortened from “tenha (or tenga) cuidado”, an imperative for which valid English dynamic equivalents (horrors! Devilish Dynamic Equivalency) would be “Be careful” or even better in this case, “Watch out!”

  1. Heh. The Rapture. That doctrine that didn’t start until the early 19th century with J.N.Darby. That viewpoint that the whole world is just trash where God is concerned, including the people in it. All He cares about are His Elect. Everyone and everything else will burn.

    I didn’t think a lot about what the Rapture said about God or His love or the fact that He made things good, even though He must have known sin would come in. Perhaps it speaks more about the people who believe it than it does about God. I saw Christians teaching this doctrine, lusting for the destruction of their ‘enemies,’ happy that people would be doomed and damned. They don’t believe that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” No, they would rather believe that God is coming to a time in which His lovingkindness and patience will come to an end and grace will be no more and people will just suffer and die and suffer for eternity.

    Glad I am no longer a believer of that nonsense.

    1. I think the common argument against your idea that J. N. Darby came up with the idea of the rapture is pointing out that the rapture is found in several places throughout the New Testament, which was written long before J.N. Darby was alive.

      1. That is how you have been taught to interpret those passages. But that is not how those passages were interpreted previously. The fact is that the “Rapture” as a “doctrine” is a very recent invention, and as such , a heresy.

      2. the term rapture in the original language was only found in the Thessalonians passage and when looking at that passage in the cultural context one finds the meaning we have placed on the text is our own concoction.
        In all scholarly work–outside of the dispensationalist camp–Thessalonians–and the Lord will appear with the shout of the archangel and the trumpet sound–the dead rise first and those who are alive will ascend to meet him–has the understanding of a triumphant King coming to the city. The trumpets and heralds would sound–“Make way for the King (and then a long list of titles and accomplishments).” The elders of the city would come out of the gates to welcome the King. But they wouldn’t turn around and leave–instead they would welcome the King and bring him inside the city and enthrone him. So the picture of the passage is the Church–saints who have passed on and those who live–would rise to meet Christ and welcome him and then enthrone him as the true ruler of all of Creation–no rapture, no leaving the earth–we simply hear him at our door, go and open the door and bring him home.

        1. This reminded me of the song “The King Is Coming” that my parents had on a record when I was a kid. I loved it. It started kind of gentle and got more and more powerful as the song progressed; I’d get goose bumps on the “I can hear the chariots rumble!” (To put things into perspective, I didn’t have a TV and wasn’t allowed to listen to much besides classical music or hymns.) Unfortunately, my parents explained that it wasn’t really accurate because the Christians were caught up FIRST away from the earth and when Jesus came back the second time, it would be for judgment, so the images of a triumphant King bringing beauty and restoration to a broken earth longing for Him wasn’t Biblically accurate. They pretty much just liked the chorus.

          It wasn’t the Gaither version. Maybe George Beverly Shae.

          (BTW, the song Days of Elijah fills me with the same awe and excitement today as The King Is Coming did way back then! And now I’m free to enjoy those songs without guilt or subterfuge!)

        2. Pastor’s wife:

          I have heard that song by the Gaithers. The more positive songs about the coming of Christ often, in my experience, do not really demonstrate the rapture idea and then tribulation. Unlike the song from the 1970-ish era–“There’s No time to change your mind, the Son has come and you’ve been left behind.”–Good melody, awful theology….

        3. I love Days of Elijah for the same reasons.

          I get goosebumps when I see Gandalf appearing with in clouds (of long-awaited reinforcements) at the battle of Helm’s Deep when the good guys had given up hope and just when all appears lost. And them the shockwave of his light completely overpowers the forces of darkness.

          That’s how I envision the end of trib return of Jesus as portrayed in OT prophecy.

          I wonder if that wasn’t what Tolkien was trying to invoke.

    2. Tenha cuidado, rtgmath.

      The Rapture doctrine is as old as Mt 24:29-31, which BTW is the onliest passage referring to anything resembling a catching away of the elect that contains any timing information.

      Darby’s “contribution” was to declare that notwithstanding Jesus’ plain statement of “after the tribulation” in v29, that the Rapture would instead occur BEFORE the 7 year Tribulation. This was necessary to keep the Church’s destiny separate from that of Israel, the foundational concept of Dispensationalism.

      Defend that presupposition from the Bible for me, please Mr. Darby. And Mr. Chafer. And Mr. Ryrie. It strikes me as not just vaguely anti-Semitic–possibly a product of Darby’s times.

      I’ll stick with Galatians 3:28-29.
      There is neither Jew nor Greek … for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

      1. Well, I wouldn’t count that as the “Rapture.” It is much more in line with Christ’s teaching on final judgment rather than on the entrance to the Kingdom.

        Even so, Matthew 24 has always been problematic. Jesus specifically told His disciples — his apostles — that *they* would see certain things, and they did not. Jesus also told the High Priest that he would see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, and that didn’t happen, either (Mark 14:61-62). As a result of these non-occurring promised events, the Church did some finagling to try to get around the obvious. So they play with such terms as “this generation,” and try to buffer this statement and that promise or push it off to a different time.

        What is interesting is that II Peter doesn’t even show up in the manuscripts until the late 3rd century. It doesn’t read like I Peter does, either, prompting suspicion that it was not written by Peter, but claiming his name so as to calm frustrations that Jesus hadn’t come, the Kingdom hadn’t come to Israel as promised, etc.

        When I was a fairly young Christian I was caught up in all the “prophetic teaching” going on. A wise evangelist named Cornelius Vanderbreggan from the Netherlands took me aside and reminded me that Paul had expected the coming of the Lord in his lifetime. John had as well. And it is 1900 plus years later!

        At the time the prophetic wags were going on about how it was so long from the establishment of the state of Israel, the Ten Nations in Europe creating a new Roman Empire (the ten toes of Daniel’s vision), and such and such. The evangelist reminded me that there is no prophesy to be fulfilled before the Lord returns. It doesn’t matter what we expect. What the Lord wants is faithfulness. He pointed out that the Lord could return right away (as was expected by the groupthink and fundypreach), or it could be 40 years from then (we are at the 40 year mark!), or another 2000.

        You know, he was wise! And I learned to step back from the drama and the pathos and the pseudo-patriotism and the anticommunism and the promises and the preaching and just watch. They never learned! They just kept revising the message, kept peddling the speculation, and kept getting lots of donations despite always being wrong. Sooo spiritual! Sooo wrong!

        Can you blame me for being skeptical?

        1. Yeah, preterist is one possible interpretation. A double-fulfillment between 70AD and postTrib seems to me to fit best.

          Pre-Trib theory is a direct descendent of the dubious parentage of Margaret MacDonald’s visions and Darby’s extrapolations of an interpretive structure rooted in the idea that Israel frustrated God’s Sovereignty by rejecting her Messiah compelling God to renege on the fulfillment of prophecy by transferring promised blessings to the Church and relegating Israel to perpetual second class status.

          I wouldn’t throw out all Rapture possibilities just because Pre-Trib is highly suspect. I hope, similarly, you would not reject baptism just because denoms can’t agree on the mode or whether the one being baptized should be a believer or an infant, or for that matter what its purpose is. Study it out for yourself with the Holy Spirit and in community with other believers, and if it still remains inconclusive then that must be okay with God and not something we need to separate over.

        2. I hold “double fulfillment” prophetic interpretations as suspect. Evidence shows that doctrinal principle was adopted because somehow, something wasn’t being fulfilled as interpreted, or being fulfilled at all. But since the Scripture cannot be regarded as containing any error at all, you have to make a kludge for it.

          For example, Matthew boldly declared that the Slaughter of the Innocents by Herod was a fulfillment of prophesy, and quoted Jeremiah. Alas! Scholars who actually *looked* at Jeremiah’s prophesy found that it had absolutely NOTHING to do with what Matthew had declared. Jeremiah dealt with the children of Israel going into captivity, and indeed, coming back from captivity! Not to mention, of course, that Ramah and Bethlehem are geographically distinct and separate places at least 20 miles apart (if I remember correctly).

          Please indulge me a bit. Here is the relevant portion of Matthew 2.

          16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
          17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
          18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

          And now from Jeremiah 31: 15 Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

          Ahhh! But Matthew does NOT quote the next verse, which would entirely destroy his description of slaughter!

          Jeremiah 31:16 Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. 17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.

          Nevertheless, Matthew as a part of Scripture had to be without error, so one had to declare a “double fulfillment.” There was no prophesy of the slaughter of the innocents, even though we now pretend there was.

        3. As I said, I could be wrong. But if I am wrong, I can’t be any more wrong than the pre-trib or post-trib doctrines are. With the number of times they have been revised, massaged, recast, folded, stapled and mutilated they really are little more than a collection of Scripture snippets and passages taken out of context Scripturally, culturally and historically.

          If anyone comes along with a rock-solid interpretation of prophetic Scriptures that are true to context I will be sure to listen.

    3. I often wonder how often we ask “what does our doctrine say about God?” It is not just the doctrine of the rapture which presents God in a poor light.
      I think the rapture plays to our base nature. That part of us who wants mercy for us, but no mercy for our enemies or those who have disagreed with us (the story of Jonah comes to mind). That part of us who wants to see those who have not lived up to the standards we have busted our butts to try and keep–finally get what is coming to them.
      I think the rapture plays to our fears. We fear the world around us and the events (often times we help to create) and do not want to fully experience the consequences so the rapture calms us…we are not going to see the worst. The rapture points out our lack of faith. We do not trust that the God who was with Abram when he left his home, or the God who was with Moses or the God who was in the fiery furnace or the God who hung on the Cross would call us to those same fates and still stand with us in the midst of it all. The rapture is the lack of faith.

      1. Very well said! I really appreciate your making me think about this.

        I love Jonah, btw. Right there in the OT is a beautiful message of God’s love for all people, not just His Chosen People. The last verse even adds, “and also much cattle.”

    4. RTG, what is your belief in “end times,” then? You’ve stated clearly what you don’t believe, but the Bible seems pretty clear that not all will repent until Christ returns and “every knee shall bow.” Do you believe that Hell exists for anyone? Who or who not?

      1. I cannot answer for RTG. But I find it odd that you would decide that just because one doesn’t believe in the rapture, that one doesn’t believe in Christ’s return. One can believe Christ returns without believing in the rapture. Christ returns, the way things have been working ends, and Christ’s reign is set up and God’s Kingdom comes.

        1. I didn’t say that. I’m just trying to figure out what people do believe. I’ve never heard any other explanation for the end times other than the rapture.

        2. I am sorry. It sounded like an “if, then” clause in your original post. Perhaps I have heard it too many times from my friends who believe in a rapture…”if you don’t believe in the rapture, then you don’t believe–Christ’s coming back, the Bible, etc.” Forgive me for reading my experience into your statement.

          Like I said, I cannot speak for RTG, but there are many who believe Revelation is the overview from Genesis to the Day Christ returns and brings God’s Kingdom fully. We believe this present way of living will end, and Christ will set up God’s Kingdom–but we don’t get raptured and taken away. Christ returns, we welcome him and enthrone him, and the new era begins. Christ will come back. Its just not mapped out like the dispensationalists map it out.

        3. Thanks for the explanation – I took a few minutes to Google a few viewpoints in between my last response and now as well.

          With that viewpoint, is it believed that the earth will be restored for eternity? I’ve always believed that the earth is our final destination, but that it will be a New Earth – the old earth will have been destroyed and we’ll live on a newly created earth. Obviously something will have to change for this earth to last for eternity – how does that work with the belief you outline?

        4. In I Corinthians 15 Paul talks about mortality putting on immortality–God never destroys us to make us a new creation but transforms us. I guess the best way to describe it is—a restored old car—a person in my church has an old Model T with the trundle seat–it looks like it is a brand new car–but its not…he has restored it–replaced some parts, repainted, buffed, etc……We put on Christ according to Paul…we put on immortality…..its not that our old mortal beings are destroyed and no more, its that they are changed and reworked….I see that as what God is doing in Revelation 21–the way things have worked in the world ends, but Creation puts on immortality–

        5. Although this is a different issue entirely, I have encountered the same “if you don’t believe this, you are not a Christian” thinking about the six-day creation. I have shared accommodation with a man who was very much influenced by Ken Ham and is a firm believer in a literal interpretation of Genesis chapter 1. He has stated in the plainest terms possible that you cannot be a Christian unless you believe that God created everything in six literal 24-hour days (ie 144 hours). His reasoning is, if you can’t believe the first chapters of Genesis, how can you believe the rest of the bible? I find it difficult to square that interpretation with scientific evidence. We had quite a few discussions/arguments about that. Now he is utterly convinced that I not a Christian at all, and unless I accept his interpretation of Genesis and reject all evidence that is not in the bible, I will burn in hell. Nothing I do or say will convince him otherwise. That is fine, but he did seem to spend time sowing doubt in the minds of others about the validity of my salvation. That hurt.

        6. Paul Best–
          That is fundamentalism for you. Everything becomes a fundamental, a must to believe. And believing in Jesus is not enough. It took me a while to realize that they actually preach a different gospel than what we find in Scripture. Salvation by grace through faith is not actualized in fundamentalism. You have to check off all the right doctrines plus Jesus.
          It is painful. Many of us have family who have a hard time setting aside our differences in order to simply celebrate holidays. The doctrines become walls.

        7. Mag, I find the imagery in C. S. Lewis’s “The Last Battle” fascinating. The story always made me cry yet also filled me with joy. It’s definitely a picture of the end times.

          Leanne, I remember wondering about this – “Salvation by grace through faith is not actualized in fundamentalism. You have to check off all the right doctrines plus Jesus.” – in the past because I wondered how MUCH of all those doctrines was actually necessary in order to be saved. My mind was struggling with reconciling what I heard from the pulpit – both that salvation was simple and easy by putting your faith in Christ but also that Christians HAD to believe several things to be “real” Christians (and I do think there are several things that Christians should believe – the things listed in some of the Creeds, perhaps – though I wasn’t exposed to the creeds until I was in college.)

        8. His reasoning is, if you can’t believe the first chapters of Genesis, how can you believe the rest of the bible?

          I’m starting to wonder if the best response to that line of thinking is to agree and say you don’t believe the rest of the Bible. As understood by a premillennial rapture ready dispensationalist, at least.

          It’s fairly true. The Bible isn’t flat, we don’t use a literal interpretation most of the time, context is extremely important, and yes, archaeology and history and ANE material ARE Biblical contexts, we don’t let the text just interpret the text, etc. So, it’s true, we/I don’t believe the rest of the Bible.

          …the way they interpret it and understand it. And that’s when you offer up Jesus and the creeds as common ground, and hope they meet you there. If they don’t, well…blessings on your journey.

        9. Or perhaps a better response would be: I absolutely do believe in the first couple chapters of Genesis, in it’s original intent and purpose and context.

          But maybe that’s a door to a conversation many aren’t ready to have.

      2. I am working out my beliefs on the “end times.” I have been through enough nonsense to know the fundamentalist prettib rapture isn’t correct.

        It can’t be. After all, it is much too easily malleable to what people think they are seeing in the world around them as signs of the end. Many years ago Hal Lindsey’s book the Late Great Planet Earth laid out the case for the near return of Christ based on Biblical prophecy lining up. But as things changed, Lindsey just revised the book over and over with never an admission he was ever wrong.

        Ever hear of Jack van Impe? He was big back in the day. And none of his prophetic teachings ever came true. None.

        I accept that Christ will return as an article of faith. But of the times and the seasons no one knows, not even Christ Himself.

        Now the way I figure it, if I love God and love others and try to be faithful in sharing God’s love with others, then it really doesn’t matter when Christ will return. I’ll be glad when I see Him, probably surprised, but busy doing what I should be. I won’t be disappointed if He doesn’t show up. It isn’t all about me, after all. I don’t want people to suffer and go to hell. And I am rethinking hell as well. These things take time.

        Since we are told that the Goodness of God leads people to repentance, I prefer goodness to Wrath and Vengeance. I do not worship an angry God any more, nor can I.

        If I am wrong, I think I am wrong for the right reasons. What we believe about God says a lot about us. What are we really telling the world?

        1. I can relate to you on not having everything figured out. Since leaving “fundyland,” figuring what I believe has been on ongoing process I’m not sure I’ll ever complete. It was so much easier when you just followed what your particular group believed. I remember a friend of mind switched from pre-tri to mid-trib and I thought he was becoming a heretic. When he asked why his view was wrong and mine right, I just went online and printed off some articles by David Cloud. It didn’t hit me until later on that a belief is supposed to be something you have reason to believe, not something you hold onto because that’s just how it is. Anyway, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who doesn’t have everything figured out.

    1. They don’t care. Nothing informs their conscience that treating a hell-bound person in a kind or considerate way is worth anything.

      One of the people at my IFB church said he approved of torture because it made him feel safer. It didn’t matter that the Iraq war was started on the basis of deliberate lies. He felt safer. It was all very surreal. But after all, since they don’t believe in Jesus, they are going to suffer for eternity anyway. A little extra suffering in the here and now won’t make a difference, right?

      Which nearly convinces me all by itself that the doctrine of an eternal hell must be a gross error. Any doctrine that produces an indifference to how others are treated must be wrong.

      1. Dear rgtmath:

        Ya dun good. I’d ‘ave asked him what form of torture he’d like to undergo first … Torture makes him feel ensafenated, right?

        Christian Socialist

    2. Miriam – The responsible thing for people who truly believe in the rapture would be to not have any children. It is such a selfish act to have kids if you believe the world is going to end any day now (not that we set dates, we are not that crazy but it is going to happen soon, probably this year. Not that we are setting dates mind you….). Why would you bring other people into this world if you believe it is going to burn and all that nonsense? Wouldn’t a sane person spare the potential anguish of their children?
      The rapture is horrible theology used to keep people in line.

      1. That was, in fact, the doctrine of the Cathares of the Middle Ages– don’t have children, and for that matter, don’t wash. Why bathe a body that will soon disappear?

        1. How will the world end? In about 5 billion years our sun will run out of fuel and as it transitions to a red giant it will grow in size and swallow up Earth, along with Mercury and Venus. I do not believe in the rapture or any variation of the story of Jesus coming back to kick everyone who does not believe into hell. Or however it is supposed to play out. Maybe I would give it more credence if there was some sort of agreement between Christians as to how it will all play out. But there is no agreement. You have pre-tribbers and post-tribbers and no-tribbers. Since they can’t all be right I will take the stance that none of them are right. For that and other reasons (i.e. rapture theology is only from the 1800s. Somehow it got overlooked for so long?) I don’t believe in the rapture.

          Do I believe in life after death? I guess I better or I am burning for eternity. I guess I hope so. It will be nice to see everyone I know who died before me (or at least most everyone I knew). That is certainly the message of most major religions. Better behave in this life or there will be hell to pay in the next life. But no one knows. Someone may say they know because the bible tells them so. But they don’t know. They may believe it to be true. But that doesn’t make it so.

          Sorry for the long response/rant.

        2. Scorpio,
          I think you’re entirely right to be skeptical of dogmatic interpretations of as yet unfulfilled prophecy. In spite of all the OT prophecy of the coming Messiah, most of the Jews of Jesus’ day completely missed it. Even John the Baptist couldn’t reconcile popular opinion of how the Messiah should act with how Jesus was conducting the “conquest”. And then Jesus didn’t make an explicit statement but simply referred him back to the same intentionally vague prophecies, though He was, however, directing attention to a possibly forgotten aspect of Messiah’s actions that Jesus fulfilled incontrovertibly.

          But don’t chuck everything. Just because it’s vague, only certain in hindsight, doesn’t mean no obviously overwhelmingly divine intervention will ever occur.

          In fact, Jesus warned explicitly against drawing that very conclusion.

        3. Thanks for the response Velho. It wouldn’t be the first time I have done that. The chucking thing. 🙂

        4. How will the world end?

          I’m not really sure that it will, at least not in eschatalogical terms. But let me explain.

          We know the ancients did not understand the world or the universe. Their universe was small. Stars were hung on the ceiling of the sky — and that is what they believed! God dwelt above the clouds. The sun was small and went across the sky. “Blood” moons signified disaster, but they didn’t know about atmospheric dust from volcanos. Lightning was God’s show of anger. Thunder was God’s voice. Nature was unpredictable, unknowable, mysterious and dangerous.

          They couldn’t have understood a universe, a light year (much less 13 billion light years!), billions of years of geologic time, DNA, chemistry, etc. That 1,300,000 earths could fit inside the sun would have scared them senseless. They weren’t ready for scientific facts on that scale.

          So they thought in terms of beginnings and endings. Near beginnings and near endings. They couldn’t think otherwise. Larger concepts take time, experience, and exposure to ideas beyond their clans.

          That doesn’t mean the ideas found in the Scripture are worthless. It means you have to understand that God deals with people where they are. The relationship was more important than facts. God dealt with them as children, because they were, in fact, children mentally and spiritually. In large measure we still are.

          Why should there need to be an “end” to the world? There is no Satan that is nearly God’s equal or who can threaten to ruin the whole creation.

          If you look at the Scriptures, much of it focuses on man’s struggle to get along with others, intolerance to outside ideas, those ideas eventually making their way into the minds of the faithful and the world not coming to an end as a result. Faith and love take time to develop. Faith is not about certainty, but about uncertainty. Faith is not about knowing, but about what we don’t know and can’t know.

          I don’t think there will be a final battle between good and evil. If God took all evil from us, all self-will, self-knowledge and desire, we should no longer be Us. We would be lobotomized. We might be happy, but we would no longer be who we are. The process of growing up, the need to learn, the development of self control, maturity and wisdom all come from conflict of good and evil. Is God really going to take away that? Or does He soothe the worried soul saying we won’t have to struggle someday, when the fact is that struggle is good for us?

          Think about how you raise your children. You do not give them the stark truth. You shelter them from reality until they can bear it. Perhaps God does that, too.

          This is just a rumination. I wouldn’t let my musings upset you or your beliefs. They don’t mean I “don’t believe.” But belief, like everything else, is best in context. Removed from its context it doesn’t work.

        5. Some say the world will end in fire,
          Some say in ice.
          From what I’ve tasted of desire
          I hold with those who favor fire.
          But if it had to perish twice,
          I think I know enough of hate
          To say that for destruction ice
          Is also great
          And would suffice. – by Robert Frost

      2. You know what? When I was expecting my first child, my sister told me that she thought it was terrible bring children into this “world under judgement.” She doesn’t have kids. What if they never got saved? Far better not to have any. What a sad, horrible thing life is for these people.

  2. I personally believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture. However, the churches I have belonged to since I left Fundystan do not:
    -Rejoice over the damnation of the lost. If anything, the immanence of the Rapture causes people to be more concerned about unbelieving loves ones.

    -Don’t make it a test of fellowship. As long as you believe that Christ is returning, great! It’s the old joke of “pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib? I’m pan-trib because it will all pan out in the end.”

    So, not everyone who believes in the Rapture is excitedly waiting for the punishment of the lost. If anything, it causes me grief to think I will be with Jesus, and others who have not yet come to faith may not.

    I know not everyone who posts may have the same beliefs that I have. I despise the view that “we’re, the select few, will go to heaven and (literally) to hell with everyone else). And many people and churches happen to be of the same persuasion.

    1. I know what you mean, Llnn. I do know loving people who ARE concerned very much about the unsaved.

      I’ve also seen some that discount love and are more concerned with their rules than with the fruit of the Spirit. They tend to be full of pride and anger (and probably fear). They are like Jonah (as Leanne mentioned earlier), preaching the judgment of God out of obedience and obligation but not out of true compassion.

      And then there are a lot of people (probably like me for most of my life) who had compassion for most of the people around them in real life, but who could work up incredible ire at those who committed some of the worst evil in the world – child abusers, rapists, despots, those who tortured and murdered. One would feel such helpless outrage that one would cry out, “How long, O Lord?!!” wanting to see that sort of horror ENDED, looking forward to a time when such evil would be utterly destroyed.

      1. In part of the non-dispensationalist view, this present life is part of God’s Kingdom. Its not about escaping to Heaven. Its about being a piece of Heaven here. God brings his kingdom via God’s people. So, those of us who do not believe in the rapture, are not looking forward to heaven, we are looking to be heaven here. And many believe that we continue into the next life–but we are not trying to escape this world. In fact, this world according to Colossians 1 was all redeemed by Christ’s life, death and resurrection. So we are very much part of the activity of God–redeeming the world, reclaiming and restoring nature, relationships, etc.

        1. Sure, that’s understandable. I still see nothing wrong with wanting to “escape this world” – at least the world as it is now. Sin has destroyed much and caused God’s creation to suffer – whatever his return looks like, I very much look forward to the end of all that.

        2. I guess the problem I have with wanting to escape (at least for myself) is that it benefits myself but no one else. If I am one of the vessels God chooses to use to bring God’s Kingdom, I want to fulfill that use.
          Paul states it in Philippians–while to die is to be with Christ and that is great, he also longed to be here on earth to be about the business of God’s Kingdom. To live is Christ, to die is Christ.
          I am not sure the longing for the rapture and for heaven, is the attitude we are taught in Scripture. The longing for God’s Kingdom to come is–but that does not require me to die to happen, in fact I can be part of that answer to the prayer.

        3. I agree 100%. We are to be agents of change here. I have one aunt who spends more time fantasizing about the rapture, that she misses all of the opportunities to make a difference around her.

          Back in the big housing boom my aunt and uncle purchased a huge house with no money down and no payments for 2 years. They didn’t bother to read the rest of the agreement. They knew The rapture was going to happen before the 2 years were up. Guess what, they ended up leaving the keys on the counter and walking away from the house. Great Christian witness.

          Goes with the get saved to have a get out of Hell card – instead of being a part of the kingdom here!

  3. Maybe the “Left Behind” movies should cross over with “Fantastic Four.” That could solve both their problems. In fact, they should have done this a long time ago–Kirk Cameron vs. Jessica Alba et al., Nicholas Cage vs Michael B. Jordan and crew, maybe even the case of the unreleased 1994 FF movie vs. Michael York from “Omega Code.”

    1. (sigh) “cast” not “case”

      but “Age of Apocalypse” would have the whole timeline thing going on–send Wolverine back in time to warn people about the Rapture?

  4. Beam me up, Gabriel! Certainly the idea of being Raptured, ruptured or beamed up before things get really messy is the most attractive option. But what if it doesn’t happen that way? The pre-trib rapture strikes me as a particularly western concept . Passages referring to “one taken away and one left” may be interpreted differently in North Korea or Isis-controlled Iraq. I’m not sure God is going to leave a Christian behind simply because he/ she does not mentally assent to that particular doctrine. I hope we do escape the Great Tribulation, but I’m not going to bank my whole future on that hope.

  5. Beam me up, Gabriel! Certainly the idea of being Raptured, ruptured or beamed up before things get really messy is the most attractive option. But what if it doesn’t happen that way? The pre-trib rapture strikes me as a particularly western concept . Passages referring to “one taken away and one left” may be interpreted differently in North Korea or Isis-controlled Iraq. I’m not sure God is going to leave a Christian behind simply because he/ she does not mentally assent to that particular doctrine. I hope we do escape the Great Tribulation, but I’m not going to bank my whole future on that hope.

  6. Wouldn’t be surprised if many Marylanders thought the War of 1812 to be a precursor to the Tribulation and some were expecting Jesus to return for good in 1819 :^)

    1. I have to say I loathe this version of that song. They take what should be a simple, plaintive country hymn about a poor sufferer longing for deliverance, and turn it into some kind of vamped-up ragtime tap-dance.

        1. PW, another song where words and composition don’t match is “O Happy Day”. It sounds like a funeral dirge. If that’s happiness, where’s the nearest cliff for me to jump from?

        2. TILS, maybe you say that because you’ve only heard white people with no soul sing it. You needa hear some of our bros and sis’ from the hood sing it. They know how to do it right! 😉 🙂

        3. That is an excellent rendition. Even so, it’s hard to listen to that song, and fundy hymns in general.

        4. Sad when a bunch of white people try to sing anything with a syncopated rhythm. BTW, the first part sounded a little like “I Got Rhythm”, not true I’m afraid.

        1. I know several people who went to their Bible institute in Argentina. They brought with them plenty of stories to tell! This was back in the 80’s and 90’s. Not sure how it is today.

  7. I heard some time abot (40 years or so) that the airlines had begun having a christian and non-christian in the cockpit just in case one of the was raptured. About the same time, I heard that the vultures in Meggido were repopulating like bunnies because of the soon-to-be Armageddon. …. and the 28 toes of the statue in Daniel are the 28 members of the European Union or something like that. It was a sure sign.

    1. Oh come on. I’m sure there are a few idiots out there like that, but no one I’ve ever known that believed in the rapture and the end of this earth has ever felt or acted that way.

      1. There are plenty of people who believe that Mag. I have heard messages like that from straight from the pulpit and in general conversations during my time in fundyland. It gives people an excuse to not give a sh*t that they should. It allows them to shirk personal responsibility. I’ve known people who complained that their town made them recycle. They exist.

      2. Practically everyone I knew growing up denies the science of climate changes and shrugs if they are wrong precisely because of this reasoning. Fox News caters to this (although they leave out the religious parts) as do politicians including Inhoffe & other senators who have precisely used this excuse to block environmental legislation. if you are unaware of it, you’ve been avoiding it.

        1. Sure – I do tend to avoid a lot of political rhetoric. There’s too much of it out there to keep up with anyhow.

        2. The science of climate change:
          – Climate changes. Nature of the beast.
          – There’s been about a 0.7C warmup over the last century.
          – The observed increase is well within the margins of error of both the measuring equipment and those of the modeling paradigms of climate alarmists.
          – General Circulation Models, sine qua non of the warmists, depend critically upon input variables for which no absolute data exist.
          – GCMs are unable to account for highly influential macrocycles such as observed multi-decadal and multi-secular ocean temperature swings–and they’re different for each ocean! Nor can potentially catastrophic microcycles such as El Niño/La Niña be successfully predicted.
          – Neither are current circulation models designed to incorporate such incredibly important inputs. Unsurprisingly, very few of the alarmists can make their models agree with each other.
          – Current GCMs cannot even take something as important to climate as clouds into account.
          – Mysteriously, there has been no temperature increase for the last 17 years.
          – Out of the hundreds of General Circulation Models, the number that predicted our current universally recognized global warming hiatus is precisely zero.
          – Some independent scientists (who don’t need to toe the party line in their grant proposals) believe we may be tipping back into another ice age.
          – The number of global flow models that have been able to significantly predict yearly or 10 year weather is also precisely zero. Predicting the next century is out of the question.
          – Farmer’s Almanacs have a much higher accuracy rate. And they did/do it without supercomputers. Hint: they rely on old school datasets that new breed meteorologists have rejected in favor of whizbang supercomputers and Amazingly Accurate (as soon as we get all the input variables right) models. It’s the geocentrists against the heliocentrists again, but this time it’s the old-timers who have actual observable science on their side. Copernican revolution in reverse (which may be empirical evidence of entropy which would suggest global cooling 😉 )
          – The amount of CO2 humans have generated and added to the atmosphere (more precisely re-released into the atmosphere–it was there before, consumed by plants, buried, and has now risen again to new life) amounts to way less than comparatively a baby’s fart on the 50 yard line of the Astrodome.
          – Natural events such as volcanoes have caused much more measurable climate change than could possibly be attributed to humans.
          – That humans have made a measurable climate difference–highly improbable.
          – CO2 is superwonderlicous for plants (remember elementary biology?). Farmers and starving kids in Ethiopia benefit greatly from increased levels of atmospheric CO2. Incontrovertibly a global greening is taking place even with the small increase in CO2 measured in ppm since the pre-industrial age.
          – Antarctic ice core samples show historically much higher atmospheric concentrations of CO2 than we currently have–in fact, compared to history, we’re experiencing relative CO2 starvation.
          – More people die from cold than heat.
          – The earth’s global mean temperature has been significantly warmer and significantly colder and has changed temperature at significantly faster rates–all long before it could possibly be accused of being anthropogenic.

          And much, much more. I suggest the book Climate Change: The Facts, edited by Alan Moran

        3. Anthropogenic global warming may be the biggest, most expensive hoax ever, but it doesn’t mean anyone, especially Christians should take the attitude “Ah skwewit, Earth’s gonna burn anyway. I’m dumping nasty chemicals in the river. Or dumping my cig butts on the road at the stoplight. “

        4. Velho–
          Thank you for your viewpoint. I have lived in Phoenix and other areas where pollution made it hard for me to breathe. If I am affected by the air quality, I don’t find it hard to believe that our pollution affects all of creation and contributes to climate change. Yes, there is natural causes of climate change. But you cannot convince me that we don’t affect the climate with our actions.
          And I think no matter what, our treatment of creation is important. I believe we will be held accountable for every species we kill off with our greed and apathy. I believe we will be held accountable for the forests and the water we destroy. Revelation 11 states God will destroy those who destroy the earth. So it really doesn’t matter–we are the caretakers of Creation–and we would rather make money and lord our power over creation. And that is a sin.

        5. Just think if we took care of our bodies the way some Christians would take care of the earth:
          Our teeth would rot out of our heads.
          We wouldn’t be able to see because of our cataracts.
          All those joint replacement surgeries that improve life would never happen.
          No controlled blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure…
          And I could go on! Although this earth isn’t forever (be it the Rapture or 5 billion years), I’d rather live on a reasonably pleasant planet than in a cesspool. Unfortunately, some people do have to live in a cesspool because they either can’t clean up their part of the world, or they have not been taught how.

        6. Alan Moran is a climate change denier whose work is not peer-reviewed, and who is respected by virtually no other scientists.

        7. Velho – There were “scientists” who also claimed smoking cigarettes was not harmful. They were hired by the tobacco companies. And now we have “scientists” who claim climate change is not real or not man-made. Wanna guess who might fund their “work”? I’ll give you a hint, it’s oil and coal companies.

          BG mentioned peer-reviewed articles/work. That is an important aspect of any scientific endeavor. From November 2012 through December 2013 there were 2,258 peer-reviewed articles about climate change by 9,136 authors. Only 1 author denied man-made global warming:

          http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/01/08/why-climate-deniers-have-no-scientific-credibility-only-1-9136-study-authors-rejects-global-warming

          Below are a couple of links about the science and the link from Yale specifically talks about a lot of the misconceptions people have about climate change.

          https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

          http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/filtered/?action=add_filter&f2=f2

          Forgive my passion on the subject but it has been my schooling and career for 34 years. I knew of global warming well before it became a political issue.

      3. Mag,
        I’m 47 years old and 40 years ago my dad, who has been fundy lite his entire life, scoffed at “tree huggers” because we were put on the earth to subdue it, and because God is going to destroy the earth in the end anyway.

        the Admiral

    2. I actually heard someone say–“who cares about the polar bears going extinct? I am going to be raptured anyways.”

      It has been preached to me by pastors in the past who hold to dispensationalism that environmentalism doesn’t matter or work since God is going to destroy the old and make a new….
      The problem with this theology is that we are going to be held accountable for our treatment of the Earth…Revelation 11 states that God will destroy those who destroy the Earth. not to mention all the scriptures that instructed God’s people in their treatment of the land or animals or the fact Colossian 1 states Jesus has redeemed all of Creation….

      1. I used to argue about this with my dad. I said that God made the earth so we should respect it. He said we were to “subdue” it’–in other words get whatever we can get out of it until it is all used up, like it is our slave.

        the Admiral

        1. I am one who thinks doctrine is important but not necessary to divide over….yet there are a couple of doctrines which I find so dangerous that I find myself having to chant “grace. grace. grace.” over and over in my head.
          Dispensationalism and the rapture is one of the doctrinal camps I find dangerous. Dominionism is the other doctrine I find very dangerous. Unfortunate when Dispensationalism and Dominionsim are mixed together. The idea that we are to subdue creation is such a poor rendering of the Creation story mandate. When we look in the context of the rest of Scripture–we find the “have dominion over” doesn’t look anything like subduing but serving and caring and nurturing and tending…..but looking at context is not a strength for dispensationalism or dominionism or fundamentalism.

        2. It’s sad that to some people the idea of “subduing” the earth involves harshness and violence.

          I like much better the idea of “serving and caring and nurturing and tending.”

          I think one’s ideas about the meaning of that word in this context reveals what one’s view of God is: cruel or loving, vindictive or compassionate.

  8. If you showed up on the scene with no preconceived notions, and armed only with the Scriptures (KJV or not) and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I find it hard to believe that anyone could come up with the pre-trib, dispensational view of eschatology.

  9. Having just read all of the comments and discussion in this thread I want to thank all of you that took part. I have been in churches in most of my 83 years. Well I guess I started around age four in Pentecostal Sunday School and have heard it all. Baptist, Methodist and independant evangelical churches. I have be lieved most of the theories described here. I have feared signs talked about here and followed the end times books. I believe that we need to let God be God and do our best to serrve Him during our lifetimes here. I look forward to welcoming Him to His Kingdom here on earth and serving him forever more.

    1. It’s not childish in a pejorative sense, PW. Rapto and Rapture mean “a snatching away”. A raptor snatches–it’s how they got their name. In Portuguese “rapto” is the word for a kidnapping. The word used for the eschatological Rapture is arrebatamento.

      Your linguistic instincts are correct.

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