Is the Rapture coming?

Rapture in a field, etched by Jan Luyken for the Bowyer Bible

The word “rapture” does not appear anywhere in either the Old or New Testament of the Judaeo-Christian bible  Rather, it is a misinterpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, that has been badly translated/mistranslated over the centuries: “…and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which [sic] are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”.  While I have argued that Saul/Paul of Tarsus never existed, and that the bible is nothing less than a cut-and-paste case of bad plagiarism, this is especially true with the “rapture” evangelicals read into one more of the letters allegedly authored by a man from Tarsus.  The source for 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (επειτα ημεις οι ζωντες οι περιλειπομενοι αμα συν αυτοις αρπαγησομεθα εν νεφελαις εις απαντησιν του κυριου εις αερα και ουτως παντοτε συν κυριω εσομεθα ) is from the Gospel of Matthew 24:29–31 (ευθεως δε μετα την θλιψιν των ημερων εκεινων ο ηλιος σκοτισθησεται και η σεληνη ου δωσει το φεγγος αυτης και οι αστερες πεσουνται απο του ουρανου και αι δυναμεις των ουρανων σαλευθησονται και τοτε φανησεται το σημειον του υιου του ανθρωπου εν τω ουρανω και τοτε κοψονται πασαι αι φυλαι της γης και οψονται τον υιον του ανθρωπου ερχομενον επι των νεφελων του ουρανου μετα δυναμεως και δοξης πολλης και αποστελει τους αγγελους αυτου μετα σαλπιγγος φωνης μεγαλης και επισυναξουσιν τους εκλεκτους αυτου εκ των τεσσαρων ανεμων απ ακρων ουρανων εως ακρων αυτων), and is considered to be equal the day that the Jesus of the bible, as believed by chrestianos (not by christianos) will return in full armor, wielding a sword of destruction and death to end a battle staged at Armageddon, though possibly fought at the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

Tombs in the Valley of Jehoshaphat

The ancient chrestianos saw the Jesus of the New Testament not as a meek and mild world savior, but as a great and wrathful general who would slaughter all dissenters and reward those who stayed true to him, were willing to die for him, and looked forward to a battle of gruesome proportions (Matthew 10:34-36).  Armageddon is a Mountain (Hebrew: הַר מְגִדּוֹ‎, Har Megiddo; Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn, Arabic هرمجدون, Persian آرماگدن, Late Latin: Armagedōn) where ancient mythology claims that god (for Christians: Jesus) will fight the Final Battle with Satan (Hebrew:  הַשָׂטָן ha-Satan), “the accuser”–a celestial prosecutor who was numbered among the Sons of God (Job 2:1) and carried out the enforcement of his spiritual Father’s orders. 

Satan (a noun preceded by the definite article “ha” (the; cp. 1 Chronicles 21:1, Job 1-2; and Zechariah 3:1) and is joined to the beloved son (Ha-Satan): Numbers 22:22, 1 Samuel 29:4, Psalms 109:6) was never the “Fallen Angel” (that becomes the Devil, and although evangelicals use the term interchangeably, they were never identical) but a member of the Divine Council advising the father god.  The evil that befalls Job is not the fault of  The Satan–but rather the transgression and crime of the ancient agricultural god Yahweh; Yahweh says to The Satan, ‘You have incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.’ (Job 2:3).  The Satan is blameless, the fault is that of the head of the council: Yahweh who had a reputation of being wrathful, unjust, quick to anger, and prone to violence, and maintained his leadership, like ancient potentates, by his assassinations, constant warfare, and siege of cities and communities, sparing no one, not even the infants, young, pregnant women, or the elderly as he wrecked havoc upon the planet that far superior deities (elohim) created (Genesis 1-2; elohim is a plural noun and the most common reference in the Old Testament).  Much of the merging of The Satan with the Devil and the exoneration of the vile Yahweh comes with the incorporation of old Babylonian myths, especially the Testament (Book) of Daniel: Daniel XII. 4:9 (cp. Assumption of Moses I. 16:17; The Assumption of Moses is a Jewish apocryphal pseudepigraphical work that is dubious at best, as it is known from a single sixth-century incomplete manuscript in Latin that was

Antonio Maria Ceriani (1828-1907)

discovered by Antonio Ceriani in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan in the mid-nineteenth century and published by him in 186 (chapter 7 discusses the End of Days); the handwriting and word choice does not match any of the texts from antiquities and it should be discarded, in much the same manner as the various eighth and ninth century CE copies of the works of Tacitus, since none of the originals exist today that can be compared fully–but then there is next to nothing–only fragments–of the bible that date back somewhat near the first two centuries, with the oldest being mere fragments of the Gospel of John written in the late second to third centuries CE–Matthew, Mark and Luke did not even exist until later).   The Devil is a relatively modern invention: the title (it is not a name) descends from Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, borrowed from an early Germanic source that plagiarized the Latin diabolus that comes from  the Greek diabolos (διάβολος) “slanderer” (contemporary Greek has slander as συκοφαντία that actually should be translated as calumny).  Diabolus  and Dæmon are distinct in the ancient world, but became synonymous with the poor translation of the Vulgate bible.

Map (1874) of Gog and Magog

Satan will gather Gog and Magog (Hebrew: גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג‎; Arabic: يَأْجُوج وَمَأْجُوج‎ Yaʾǧūǧ wa-Maʾǧūǧ are terms that do not even exist before the sixth century BCE, and end with the 1st century CE, until they appear in the Quran, c.622 CE, and then referred to people of two specific nations) from the four corners of the earth where the sons of Noah allegedly moved.  According to the mythology of Genesis 10, Magog is one of the sons (the second) of Japheth:  This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, (which is a worldwide myth and found in every culture (and reflects the legend of Oedipus who married and fathered children by his mother), who themselves had a variety of sons (the word is ambiguous and does not mean, necessarily, only males but indicates females) within the forty-days on the high seas)

Hebrew map of the known world

sons after the flood. Genesis 10:2 notes: The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras ( בְּנֵי יֶפֶת גֹּמֶר וּמָגֹוג וּמָדַי וְיָוָן וְתֻבָל וּמֶשֶׁךְ וְתִירָס׃ ).  Compare 1 Chronicles 1:5 and Ezekiel 38:2 (1 Enoch, following Ezekiel, states that the final battle will be a war waged by the Medes and Parthians (Persians) who will attack Jerusalem and in the bloodsoaked battle and amid the carnage that was to be “a joyful spectacle for the favor of the gods” be destroyed; read: Bøe, Sverre (2001). Gog and Magog. Ezechiel 38-39 als Vortext für die Offenbarung 19,27-21 und 20,7-10 [Gog and Magog: Ezekiel 38-39 as pre-text for Revelation 19,17-21 and 20,7-10]. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, p. 178, on-line at http://books.google.com/books?id=vettpBoVOX4C&pg=PA91&dq=Gog+Magog+Gyges&hl=en&ei=19s0TbqqEYmIvgPF7JnqCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Gog%20Magog%20Gyges&f=false).  The lust for blood and violence has always been universal in all cultures from the Middle East through the “frozen lands” of the north.

Jesus the Warrior

The word Armageddon appears only once in the Greek New Testament (Revelation 16:16) as discussion of past wars was not the purpose of the New Testament that was to refocus Hebrew attention away from battle (“messiah” means “warrior”) to a more eschatological (end of all battles and of time) interpretation.  Because of its similarity to preparedness for battle as promised by the Prophets, the various writers of Revelation may have incorporated a refined (Hellenized) version of the Hebrew har məgiddô (הר מגידו), meaning “Mountain of Megiddo”.  Far from being a mount or mountain har was actually a Tel: a small mount or hill on which ancient forts were built to guarded the main highway (the Via Maris), that connected Ancient Egypt with Mesopotamia and over which numerous armies passed, giving further support to the martial fervor of the chrestianos (a group of Alexandrian Jews who would relocate to Rome by the first century CE in anticipation of a warrior messiah).

Tel Megiddo (Egyptian battle ground)

Tel Megiddo was the location of many decisive battles in ancient times including one in the 15th century BCE ( fought between Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III and a large Canaanite (pre-Hebrew) coalition under the king of Kadesh; Thutmose III reestablished Egyptian dominance, leading small nations worried about another fight at the same location; cp. Eric H. Cline (May 2002). The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age. University of Michigan Press, and cf. Paul K. Davis (1999), 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times to the Present: The World’s Major Battles and How They Shaped History.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 1) and one in 609 BCE (with Necho II of Egypt leading his army to Carchemish to fight with his Assyrian allies against the Babylonians at Carchemish in northern Syria.  To give battle against the Babylonians required passing through territory controlled by the Kingdom of Judah and Necho requested permission from its king, Josiah.  Josiah refused, and most likely stood with the Babylonians and in the battle that took place Josiah was killed; read:  Herodotus, Histories 4:42 2, Kings 23:29-30 and II Chronicles 35:20-35. cp. Cline, Eric H. (2000), The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age, University of Michigan Press). 

Yggdrasil (Scandinavian Tree of Life with powers of regeneration)

From this account and similar records, with the advent of the Apiru (Hebrews) from India, would filter south into the Middle East the Scandinavian legend of a Tree of Life that was not to have “its fruits eaten by mere mortals, nor by the workers of the land”.  It is from the far north that we find a special tree in the center of a garden that was the center of the earth and would produce food so special that it was only for the grounds’ keeper–the godhead who would oversee the work of mortals molded out of red earth: Adamah.

The two nations will encamp surrounding the “holy ones”, meaning the “true believers” or “elect” and “saved” and the “beloved city” (Jerusalem). Fire will come down as wrathful rain from God filled with so much hatred that the deity will destroy without mercy or compassion all those who do not bow to his cruelty.  The fires that will be the torch of hell will flare out of heaven and devour Gog and Magog after the Millennium (1000 years that Jesus is to live and reign as King of the Universe), and the Devil (not The Satan) who deceived the angels and unbelievers is thrown into Gehenna (Gehenna is an Egyptian word for the Lake of Fire [She en Amu {on the Papyrus of Nu}]

Gehenna is an Egyptian word for Lake of Fire

and brimstone, or a more fiendish version of the Greek Hell) where the Beast and the False Prophet (a term that appears in The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:15–23; cp. Deuteronomy 13:1–5 and the penalty for being a false prophet–as determined by the priests–is death, as decreed in per Deuteronomy 18:20) have been since before the 1,000 years.  To make clear that Jesus was not the False Prophet as many believed, the writers of the Letters of John argue that Jesus alone would protect them (1 John 1:18 f, 2:7-8, etc.).  All of the interjections of the name of Jesus do not appear anywhere in relationship to the concept of a rapture (or being caught up and snatched away: ἁρπαγησόμεθα or harpagēsometha). 

Jesus never used the term.  The word “rapture” is neither based on the Koine Greek text of the Bible, nor found in the Attic where it is a form of κατοχή or ownership.  If κατοχή is the case, that would best be interpreted as meaning that people are mere possessions and have no free will at all; that people are toys and items that are at the whim of a god, not beloved by a god.  Even the Latin rapere means “to seize” or “to steal” and with this the individual has neither value nor importance but is a commodity and follows more of the ancient Arabic influence where people are subjected to (islam) the whim of a tyrant.

Cotton Mather

The concept of a rapture is a relatively recent novelty, an invention by a father and his son: Increase and Cotton Mather.  Their line of argument actually reflects a strong ancient Egyptian idea, where Ra determines the fate of each individual.   The Mathers argued in sermons and in letters that believers would be caught up in the air, followed by judgments on the Earth, and then the millennium (Kyle, Richard G (1998). The Last Days Are Here Again: A History of the End Times. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker. pp. 78–79, and Boyer, Paul (1992). When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 75).  By the end of the eighteenth century “the Time of Tribulation” was introduced, and with it the grotesqueness of Rapture winnowing out the few from the many, coming as a misreading of Matthew 24:21 (εσται γαρ τοτε θλιψις μεγαλη οια ου γεγονεν απ αρχης κοσμου εως του νυν ουδ ου μη γενηται ) following Ezekiel 5:9 and Daniel 12:1, both being inspired by insipid Babylonian theology.  While Baptists (Marotta, Frank (1995). Morgan Edwards: An Eighteenth Century Pretribulationist. Morganville, NJ: Present Truth Publishers), Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Adventists and several pentecostal movements use this passage (along with the two aforementioned passages in the Old Testament) to proclaim a long period of suffering, the text does not state that.  There is no time frame, no time line, no description of the suffering–it is an over-reaction to one line badly translated because of careless hands in medieval scriptoria. 

Emmanuel Lacunza

Roman Catholic clergy also clung to this method of mind control, as seen in the spurious and poorly organized writing of  Emmanuel Lacunza (1731–1801), a Jesuit priest, born in Chile but moved to Italy in 1767, and prevaricated the truth by claiming to be  a converted Jew by the name of Juan Josafat Ben Ezra.  He wrote, in Spanish, a lengthy apocalyptic work entitled La venida del Mesías en gloria y majestad [The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty] that was not published until 1811, ten years after his death.

The concept of there being a supernatural rapture found fertile soil to grow with the writings of John Nelson Darby (18 November

John Nelson Darby

1800 – 29 April 1882), an Irish lawyer turned Anglican preacher.  Darby developed a method of biblical interpretation called dispensationalism and became “the father of the rapture doctrine.”  He was the first to develop a theology that incorporated the teaching that Jesus would return secretly (His “second” coming) to rapture His true followers, leaving the rest behind to be ruled by an evil antichrist for seven years, and then return again (His “third” coming) in a visible, glorious coming to destroy antichrist, save those who were converted during the seven-year tribulation, and establish His own kingdom.

Cyrus Ingersoll Scofield (1843-1921)

Cyrus Scofield, a disciple of Darby’s, later published a Bible with explanatory notes in which he incorporated Darby’s views on the rapture.  The Scofield Bible is still the most popular Bible sold today, complete with Scofield’s additions and deletions, errors and interpretations. Within this one can even prick out the unique concept of Tribulation (this extrabiblical/pseudepigraphical rendition ultimately was included in the curriculums of well-known and greatly loved institutions such as Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary; read: Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/981788, cp. MacPhearson, Dave (1975). The Incredible Cover-Up: the True Story of the Pre-Trib Rapture. Plainfield, N. J. : Logos International, with much of this being the result of a hallucination by Margaret Macdonald (1815-1840) who styled herself a prophetess and claimed to “speak in tongues” known only to Jesus; Flegg, Columba Graham (1992). Gathered Under Apostles: A Study of the Catholic Apostolic Church.  Oxford:

Thomas Ice quotes MM (Margaret Macdonald) in error

Clarendon Press; some have found her “comments” to be demonic: Wilkinson, Paul Richard (2007). For Zion’s Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby. London: Paternoster,  p. 192-193; MacPherson acknowledges that Darby knew this. And MacPherson attempted to argue that Darby knew the demonic origin of the rapture and incorporated it into his theology anyway. MacPherson also argued that there existed a conspiracy among dispensationalist leaders in order to “cover up” the fact that Darby supposedly borrowed the idea from MacDonald, ibid., pp. 151-154) in contradiction of Matthew 24:36.

The Tribulation is to be, according to those who believe in a “rapture” a relatively short period of time.  During this period of time, those who do not chose to follow the Christian God before the Rapture will be left behind and experience worldwide hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain, and suffering. This act, considered a “mercy of the true God” will wipe out more than 75% of all life on the earth before the Second Coming takes place so as to purify the world for the “Spotless Lamb of God”, a thesis that follows the earliest Tribulationists who proclaimed that they would prepare themselves for the Second Coming in 70 CE–the majority being chrestianos: those seeking a warrior-savior who would create a new empire over the ruins of Rome.

While many evangelical extremists, like Hal Lindsey (author of The Late Great Planet Earth) have attempted to calculate the Second Coming and how long the Tribulation will last before the Rapture, their calculations are based on various non-agreeing mathematics in the Bible. For example:  In the Old Testament there are to be 1290 days of tribulation according to Daniel 12:11:  וּמֵעֵת הוּסַר הַתָּמִיד וְלָתֵת שִׁקּוּץ שֹׁםֵם יָמִים אֶלֶף מָאתַיִם וְתִשְׁעִים׃, but 1260 days if calculations are to be taken from the New Testament: Revelation 11:3:  και δωσω τοις δυσιν μαρτυσιν μου και προφητευσουσιν ημερας χιλιας διακοσιας εξηκοντα περιβεβλημενοι σακκους.

Watch Tower waiting for the Rapture (1914) Jehovah’s Witnesses

Michael William Miller (founder of the Adventists)

Among the many cults of Christianity, the Rapture has caught the attention of the fundamentalist fanatical fringe groups.   Michael William Miller (1782-1849), an American Baptist preacher who was worried about mortality and an afterlife  and, after reflecting upon his own mortality followed the recent deaths of his father and sister, claimed that Jesus was coming back in 1844 (basing his calculations on Daniel 8:14, not realizing that Daniel had not been in the original Old Testament and that it was an ancient Babylonian myth) in a flurry of fire (this was based on the seventh seal being finally broken, and an angel hurling a golden censer, filled with fire, towards the earth as written in (Revelation 8:1-5). 

When Jesus did not return in 1844, Millerism as his sect was known before changing it to Adventist, a Miller-defined church split and  several spin-off religions formed after “The Great Disappointment” (when Jesus did not return).  Among the offshoots were the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Both groups, appealing to the poor and uneducated, began to calculate the date the world would end.  The Adventists initiated a novel theology based on Miller’s writings that included the unconsciousness of man in death, conditional immortality (this actually follows ancient Egyptian theology that argues that  the dead sleep unconscious

Egyptian theology on the Last Judgment

Helvete (Hell)

until the Resurrection of the Dead to stand for a Last Judgment before the God Osiris, using Genesis 3:22-24 that teaches that human beings will naturally die without continued access to God’s life-giving power; this annihilationistic ideology argues, further, that the souls of the wicked will be destroyed in Gehenna (often translated “hell”), an atoning ministry of Jesus Christ in the heavenly sanctuary (it is the 24th of the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Adventists (like most non-traditional Protestants, most of the Adventist theology is Old Testament based, as with this example and the Adventist citation of Heb. 8:1-5; 4:14-16; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; 1:3; 2:16, 17; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6; Lev. 16; Rev. 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:12).  James White and Ellen G. White wrote extensively about this concept when they purified and finalized the formation of the Adventist church.  

James and Ellen G. White (founders of the Seventh Day Adventists)

Along with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders, such as Joseph Bates Ellen Gould White and her husband James White, formed what is now known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Ellen White had frequent “visions” and claimed each vision as a biblical gift of prophecy as outlined in Revelation 12:17 and 19:10, equating herself to be nearly on par with Jesus of the New Testament and a modern-day Apostle.  Having been struck in the head by a rock thrown by another student when she was nine years of age, Ellen Gould White  wrote about creationism (as the literally true way the earth was formed), agriculture, theology, evangelism, Christian lifestyle, education and health (cf. Ellen Gould Harmon White (1860). My Christian Experience, Views, And Labors In Connection With The Rise And Progress Of The Third Angel’s Message. Battle Creek, MI: James White, 1860; her visions made her a sought-after preacher, See: Shaw, Horace (1959). Doctoral dissertation, “A Rhetorical Analysis of the Speaking of Mrs. Ellen G. White, A Pioneer Leader and Spokeswoman of the Seventh-day Adventist Church” (Michigan State University), p. 282f).

Adventists argue that Jesus was a High Priest in the Hebrew Temple who provides cleansing for human sins by the sacrificial shedding of his blood), and an “investigative judgment” that commenced in 1844.  Adventists further cite select verses allegedly written by Saul/Paul of Tarsus, such as  1 Timothy 6:15-16 that reads: “God… alone is immortal,” coupling it with 2 Timothy 1:10 where the authors of the Second Letter (now proven to be written after the fourth century CE) writes that immortality only comes to human beings as a gift through the gospel.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been predicting the end of the world since their beginning. 

Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses)

The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (WTBTS), also known as the
Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) was formed as Zion’s Watch Tower in 1879 by Charles Taze Russell.  Russell rejected the traditional (orthodox) concept of Hell, the idea of an afterlife (the soul sleeps after death which is more in keeping with the early Hebrews than Christianity) for those who are not members, there is no salvation outside of membership, and are to avoid music, television, movies, drinking alcohol, smoking, sports, school activities such as clubs, and girl/boy scouts and similar groups. No crosses are to be displayed (they reject the deity of Jesus who was the physical incarnation of the archangel Michael), organ transplants and blood transfusions are expressly forbidden.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses accept the Rapture, based on Matthew 24:41-42, and assert that Jesus came to prophecy his kingdom to be of this earth, and to give his life so that he could be resurrected to prepare to rule his kingdom made up of believers from heaven. According the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the body of Christ is a very select group of people. It ultimately will consist of 144,000 and all others will perish. What the Jehovah’s Witnesses forget is the prophecy they quote is about the 144,000 who are already in heaven (12,000 from each of the 12 Hebrew tribes)–so there is no room for them or anyone else. 

Papyrus of Nes Min (At the end of the fourth century BCE, a Theban priest and scribe named Nesmin who held numerous positions without ever becoming a member of the upper hierarchy took with him to the tomb some of his own books instead of the more usual Book of the Dead to be with 144,000 of the elect)

What is ignored is Revelation 7:9, 10, 14. Even the number is suspect, as 144,000 is common in nearly all religions (for example, it is 1 b’ak’tun on the Mayan calendar), it is a prime number for the ancient Egyptians literally passing from this life to an afterlife, and it is a part of ancient Canaan (Attridge, Harold. W., and R. A. Oden, Jr. (1981), Philo of Byblos: The Phoenician History: Introduction, Critical Text, Translation, Notes, CBQMS 9 Washington: D. C.: The Catholic Biblical Association of America), Samaria, and Akkadian civilizations (Moscati, Sabatino (1956, 1960, 1962, 2001).  Il profilo dell Óriente mediterraneo [Torino], (1956) translated as Face of the Ancient Orient: Near Eastern civilization in pre-classical times  Mineola, N.Y. : Dover Publications, p. 174: “The first, called ‘Kingship in Heaven’, tells how this kingship passes from Alalu to Anu, … was king in heaven, Alalu was seated on the throne and the mighty Anu, first among the gods”).

Duat (Rapture) of the Egyptian gods/goddesses

The ancient Egyptians also had a rapture, when each person was called individual, or an entire community fell to a natural calamity, after which the gods would determine the fate of the dead and undead. When a person died, upon arriving in the realm of the Duat (Land of the Gods), the deceased had to pass through seven gates, breaking seven seals in order to pass to the next plateau. The Duat is sometimes described as the ‘reversed world’ or ‘inverted precinct’, and in the Pyramid Texts we read: ‘O Osiris the King, I am Isis; I have come into the middle of this earth, into the place where you are’. Osiris was the Egyptian phoenix, which was ‘the bringer of the life-giving essence, the hikê, a concept akin to our idea of magic, which the great cosmic bird carried to Egypt from a distant and magical land beyond the earthly world.’ This was the ‘Isle of Fire’, ‘the place of everlasting light beyond the limits of the world, where the gods were born or revived and whence they were sent into the world’. This is a reference to the Duat. The Duat (or Hidden Place) was sometimes conceived as a completely closed “Circle of the Gods” formed by the body of Osiris.

Book of the Dead of Nakht (18th Dynasty)

At the final level, the dead would bow before forty-two gods who listened to the confessions of the deceased who claimed to be innocent of crimes against the divine and human social order. The person’s heart was then placed on a scale, counterbalanced by a feather that represented Maat, the goddess of truth and justice.

Anubis and Last Judgment

The weighing of the heart was overseen by the jackal-headed god Anubis, and the judgement was recorded by Thoth, the god of writing. If the heart was equal in weight to the feather, the person was justified and achieved immortality. If not, it was devoured by the goddess Amemet. This meant that the person would not survive in the afterlife. When a pharaoh passed the test, he became one with the god Osiris. He then travelled through the underworld on a solar bark, accompanied by the gods, to reach paradise and attain everlasting life.  Where is there a difference between this and the concept of death and afterlife in Christianity?  How much destruction of lives, fortunes, property are involved with the myth of a rapture done over the years?

Harold Camping (2011)

In the USA and elsewhere, self-styled evangelists and predictors of the end of the world, such as Harold Camping (born July 19, 1921), and radio evangelist whose study of the Bible convinced him and his followers that the world would end on May 21, 2011 (as of this writing, Camping is stating that the world will come to an end of October 21, 2011).  But it did not–but destroyed countless lives of those who would not think for themselves but followed the lunacy of one man who chose selective quotes from his bible to prove his own limited knowledge.  While Camping had urged people to pray, at the same time he taught that people had to leave the churches to prepare themselves for the Tribulation and Rapture–and his call was sent out both in English and in the

Camping's Judgment Day (It just occurred to me that praying looks a lot like defecating)

Spanish languages.

Judgment Day 21 May 2011 in Spanish

Like early twentieth-century Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventists, He has also predicted earlier failed-to-appear judgment days on May 21, 1988, and September 7, 1994 (Radio host says Rapture actually coming in October – (UK) Globe and Mail. May 23, 2011, and Nelson, Chris (18 June 2002). “A Brief History of the Apocalypse; 1971 – 1997: Millennial Madness” on-line at http://www.abhota.info/end3.htm, and International Business Times, “Harold Camping Says End did come May 21, spiritually; Predicts New Date: October 21” on-line at http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/150707/20110524/harold-camping-says-end-did-come-may-21-spiritually-predicts-new-date-october-21.htm).  Camping’s failed prophecy, that reverberated all around the world and even had evangelicals in Perú preaching the firey end of the planet on local television, are criminals who have destroyed life and limb of many, causing death and serious injury to true believers.  In California, a woman named Lyn Benedetto was one of millions who heard Camping’s message.  A bible-totting, bible-believing, self-taught bible expert fervently believed the prophecy of Camping and became concerned that her daughters would suffer terribly in the coming apocalypse. As if she were the mythological Abraham of Genesis who was commanded by a mericless deity to slay his son, Lyn Benedetto  forced her daughters, 11 and 14, to lie on a bed and then cut their throats with a box cutter. Benedetto then went further than the old man from India, for unlike Abraham (Brahama), Benedetto then tried to kill herself before the police arrived.  Rather than the rapture coming, the police pushed into her home and arrested the out-of-control mother and all three survived without the interference of a god who was unconcerned about the event.

On September 6th 1994, a group of [Camping’s] followers dressed up for the Sabbath and filed expectantly into a war veterans’ building in Alameda, California. They prayed and held their open bibles to the skies, but nothing happened. Fifteen years later, the explanation of their leader that he simply got his sums mixed up is generally accepted. 

The god of Camping was indifferent to the suffering of others who believed firmly in the rapture–one predicted for thousands of years, each time not to occur. The prophecy of the 89-year-old Camping wrecked havoc in the poorest nations on this planet.

The rapture devastates thinking in Kahusma, Ghana

In Ghana, cars were tailgating to get away from the rapture as if it was an option (http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/article/2010-05-21-its-all-over-in-a-year-may-21st-2011-doomsday-cult-rocks-on).

Nigeria Christians spend money difficult to obtain to buy billboards proclaiming the Rapture.

In Nigeria, full-billboards were sponsored by fundamentalists Christians who worried that they would not be among the elect because of their lethargy and slowness in “killing the gays.”  Prayers to be “swept up” were more common that prayers begging for protection, and when May 21 passed without incident, those determined to “root out evil” became more determined to destroy sin in their nation so that only “the pure of heart” would survive untainted by the existence of homosexuals who are equated with The Devil.

Religious fanatics in Nigeria awaiting the Rapture May 21, 2011

Master Wang's prophecy of a tsunami destroying Taiwan May 11, 2011 (cinema production)

An elderly man in Taiwan reportedly killed himself on May 5 ahead of the Rapture by jumping out of a building.  The dedicated Christian had heard that doomsday was imminent, and had taken recent earthquakes and tsunamis as early warning signs, for natural phenomena such as the movement of tectonic plates, toronados and heavy rains has long been considered proof that god is angry and the end is near.  “Wang Laoshi” or Master Wang, a local fortune teller, tried to surpass Harold Camping–at an earlier date–by taking the Rapture a step further: he’s predicted that a powerful earthquake will virtually destroy Taiwan on May 11th, 2011 by god ripping Taiwan into two separate islands by sending a devastating tsunami against the island nation. A small band of believers are so convinced by the accuracy of his fortune telling that began building a series of fallout shelters to protect themselves from the coming tsunami.  ( http://tw.video.news.yahoo.com/video/lifestyle-19458046/14-25050632 and http://www.la-fin-du-monde.fr/2011/05/un-prophete-taiwanais-annonce-la-fin-du-monde-pour-le-11-mai-a-10h42-et-37/).

Central Weather Bureau Chief Shin Tzay-chyn refutes Wang Lanshoi predicting the division of Taiwan into two islands on May 11, 2011

Wang Laoshi in his 70s

Unlike the USA that allows unbridled free speech even if it is harmful to the safety and well-being of its citizens, Taiwan is not that liberal.  After Wang’s outrageous prediction, more than 100 shelters converted from cargo containers were being built in Puli, a town in the county.  Wang had advised people to stay in cargo containers, which he said would be safer than regular buildings once the alleged imminent catastrophe happened, according to local media reports.  The government opined that Wang “could also be violating the Social Order Law by spreading rumours to cause public panic”.  Fraud convictions carry a maximum five-year jail term while breaking the law on social order is punishable by a fine of up to Tw$30,000 ($1,000).  Taiwan’s weather bureau on Thursday also warned that Wang risked a fine of up to Tw$1 million for issuing unauthorised disaster warnings on his blog — remarks Wang later removed (read: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110429/od_afp/taiwandisasteroffbeat_20110429044555).

It is the mythology that the ultra-conservative groups, such as the Tea Party in the USA, thrive on in their drive to turn each nation into a nation of believers while destroying individual incentive and efforts.  Today, the Tea Party, is moving rapidly with millions from the Koch Brothers of Kansas to “bring back” Christianity to the classroom, and backward states such as Texas, Iowa, Ohio, New Jersey, and so forth are digging up the fabrication that the USA is a “Christian Nation” (first articulated by US Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor).

The mass media was saturated by other unconfirmed reports of doomsday-related suicides around the world as well.  They filtered into the Associated Press from Russia, Ethiopia, and elsewhere, with the illiterate and undereducated being the bulk of those confused and willing to seek death over not being swept up in the rapture with the few, the elite of god, to a new life.

Heaven's Gate mass suicide (March 26, 1997)

This was not the first time that failed doomsday predictions  have led to tragedy. The most famous pre-apocalypse suicides in recent times occurred in 1997 when the Heaven’s Gate Christian UFO group came to believe that the comet Hale-Bopp was a sign that Jesus was returning, based on the fantasies in the Book of Revelation plagiarized from ancient Egyptian, Akkadian, Etruscan and other sources that earlier had declared the world would end soon.  Heaven’s Gate was an American UFO religion that believed that flying saucers would take those who left their bodies on earth would be transported to a better place in space. The group was based in San Diego, California.  It was founded and led by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997 who was the oldest to commit suicide) and Bonnie Nettles (1928–1985, whom was his nurse after having a heart attack; he saw himself and Bonnie as “The Two” as the two witnesses recorded in the Book of Revelation 11:3, and determined they were destined for salvation). On March 26, 1997, in a period when Comet Hale-Bopp was at its brightest, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had committed suicide in order to reach an alien aircraft which was supposedly following the Hale-Bopp comet. This prompted copy-cat resurgency of rapture radicals demanding an immediate preparation for the Final War and gave credence to Camping and others, encouraged in part by scripture but basically by radio talk shows and evangelist-controlled television programs, that led  to fundamentalist fanaticism which created a stir especially in poor Latin American and Asian nations pushed by Biblical illiterates such as Pat Robertson (700 Club), Pentecostal preachers preying on the poor while either working fulltime jobs or serving as legislators in state legislatures, and the nationally registered organized hate group American Family Association. 

In Perú, where nearly half of the programming is controlled by televangelists who preach Old Testament hate, groups gathered to witness the rapture, many prepared to kill themselves if they were not a part of the elect, with Jehovah’s Witnesses passing pamphlets to the literate but uneducated in open-air markets and on street corners.  This is the price for attempting to read an ancient myth and give it current coinage.

6 Comments

Filed under Ancient Egypt, Bible, Church history, Evangelical Christianity, Jesus Christ, Roman Catholicism

6 responses to “Is the Rapture coming?

  1. Joe Besse

    In an interview with Harold Camping a couple of days ago (May 22 or 23) he expressed his disappointment in the fact that he miscalculated. His revised figures give us until Oct 21. I am so relieved!

  2. Louella

    [Hello, Arthur. Please review this article which I ran into lately while using my computer!]

    PRETRIB RAPTURE SECRETS

    How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He’s now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. (“The Rapture Question,” by the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn’t dare to even list, in its scripture index, the too-hot-to-handle Acts 3:21!) Since Jesus can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends (Acts 2:34, 35 echo this), the rapture therefore can’t take place before the end of the trib! (The above verses from Acts were also too hot for John Darby – the so-called “father of dispensationalism” – to list in the scripture index in his “Letters”!)
    Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The “rest” for “all them that believe” is tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who’d be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel’s posttrib resurrection!)
    Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this “rapture” was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” [“gathering”] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!).
    Other Google articles on the 181-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “X-Raying Margaret,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” “Walvoord Melts Ice,” “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” – all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books).

    • Would you be kind enough to send me the link / source for this article, as there are many things that I do want to comment on that are incorporated within it. I will be in your debt.

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  4. Thanks for the good writeup. It in fact used to be a enjoyment account it. Glance complex to far introduced agreeable from you! By the way, how can we be in contact?

  5. Irv

    [I believe that Louella (above) found that article on Google. Here is a Google piece I ran into lately. Interesting topic!]

    Morgan Edwards’ Rapture View

    by George Wilson

    In 1995, in a 24-page booklet on 18th century pastor Morgan Edwards, evangelist John Bray claimed that Edwards taught a pretrib rapture in his 1788 book titled “Two Academical Exercises….”
    Those echoing Bray include Thomas Ice who wrote “Morgan Edwards: Another Pre-Darby Rapturist.” Edwards’ 1788 work can be found on the internet.
    In order to claim that Edwards held to pretrib, candidates for the I-can-find-pretrib-earlier-in-church-history-than-you-can medal – including Bray, Ice, LaHaye, Frank Marotta etc. – have intentionally covered up Edwards’ “historicism,” his belief that the tribulation had already been going on for hundreds of years. (How can anyone in the tribulation go back in time and look for a pretrib rapture?)
    Here’s proof of Edwards’ historicism and its companion “day-year” theory which can view the 1260 tribulation “days” as “years.”
    On p. 14 Edwards described the Ottoman Empire (which was then already 400 years old) as the Rev. 13:11 “beast.” On p. 20 he defined “Antichrist” as the already 1000-year-old “popery” and the “succession of persons” known as “Popes” – his other Rev. 13 “beast.” He necessarily viewed Rev. 13’s 1260-day period as 1260 literal years in order to provide enough time for his two “beasts.”
    On p. 19, while discussing “the ministry of the witnesses” of Rev. 11, he allotted “about 204 years” for their “years to perform” – years impossible to fit into a 3.5-year period!
    What about Edwards’ rapture? On pp. 21-23 he wrote about “the appearing of the son of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living, and to catch them up to himself….The signs of Christ’s appearing in the clouds will be extraordinary ‘wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines,’ &. (Matth. xxiv. 6-8.)….The signs of his coming, in the heavens will be ‘the trump of God [I Thess. 4:16], vapor and smoke, which will darken the sun and moon [Matt. 24:29],’…and also cause those meteors called ‘falling stars’….
    Right after his combined rapture/advent (!), Edwards said: “And therefore, now, Antichrist…will…counterfeit the preceding wonders in heaven…causing ‘fire to come down from heaven’….And that godhead he will now assume, after killing the two witnesses….Now the great persecution of the Jews will begin…for time, times, and half a time….”
    Thomas Ice’s article on Edwards (listed at start) quoted only the first 27 words in the above quotation which end with “to himself” – and you can see why pretrib defender Ice stopped quoting there! (For an Ice-covered piece, Google “Pretrib Rapture Pride.”)
    Not only had most of Edwards’ historicist tribulation occurred before his combined rapture/advent, but incredibly his Antichrist kept raging for 3.5 years even after the Matt. 24 signs! No wonder his tutor advised him to correct his thesis!
    To read Edwards’ complete work, Google “[PDF] Two Academical Exercises…www.breadoflifebiblestudy.com.”
    For more info on Edwards, Google “McPherson Page (thebibletruth.org).” Also Google “Deceiving and Being Deceived” by historian Dave MacPherson.

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