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Paradoxical emotions regarding the rapture

May 20, 2011 By Abraham

A man sits in New York with a sign warning people that Judgment day will happen on May 21, 2011.

Do I believe that a rapture will take place tomorrow (or any time, really)?

No. Not even a little bit.

Am I scared that a rapture will take place tomorrow?

Yeah, as a matter of fact I am a wee bit apprehensive. Can’t help myself. I mean, stranger things have happened, right?

(Oh wait. — No they haven’t.)

Does it make sense to be nervous about what I know isn’t going to happen?


But irrational fear (or, in this case, irrational mild uneasiness) isn’t that uncommon, so I can’t be the only one feeling this way. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

What about you? A little bit nervous?

A man on the street in New York with a pamphlet warning of judgment day in his hat.

(Images via The New York Times)


  1. Jonathan McIntosh says:

    Like you, I don’t believe in any way that this will happen tomorrow… (my eschatology doesn’t even allow for a secret rapture).

    I’ve noticed, however, a good sense of being aware that Christ could return at any moment. The early church believed (and lived like) Christ could actually return at any moment. What if that sense of expectancy pervaded my life?

    What if he came back before Saturday afternoon?

    1. Katie Roche says:

      EXACTLY. I’m not arrogant enough to say with full conviction that Jesus will or will not return tomorrow. I don’t expect him to, but then again, “the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night”, doesn’t it?

      But I’m a post-trib premil anyway, if we’re gonna get all TBI about it. And I’m pretty sure we haven’t gone through the great tribulation.

      And some part of me thinks God is just God enough to not allow anyone to predict it. After all, “No one knows the day or the hour”. I don’t remember an “except Harold Camping” clause at the end of that verse.

  2. Michelle says:

    Same. I tweeted this earlier as a joke, “I don’t want the rapture to come tomorrow. I have tickets to see Wicked next week!” And even though I really don’t believe the rapture will come tomorrow, I’m mildly concerned that I won’t get to hear “Defying Gravity” live at the theatre…

    1. Kenny says:

      Which is unfortunate. I’ve had similar thoughts, which just goes to show us we don’t realize how glorious it would be to be raptured and then taken into eternity with infinite pleasure with Christ. We are too easily pleased.

  3. M Lumpkin says:

    There’s a bit of trepidation and excitement at any reminder of the Lord’s return. If we knew it were to be the 21st, it would be kinda cool if we all wore capes.

  4. Mike Ricci says:

    I think you make a good point here. I’m in the same boat. I don’t think it’s going to happen. But there’s the irrational nervousness that comes along with it. Here’s one thing that I couldn’t help but wonder: what if there is a major earthquake somewhere tomorrow by sheer coincidence? Can you imagine how the subsequent hours unfold? I hope there isn’t a major earthquake, but the thought is interesting.
    Also, love the blog.

  5. Shannon says:

    I was nervous, just a tad, until I realized that they were calling Jesus a liar.

    “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36

    And it’s just bad theology all the way around.

    So if I am nervous it’s because my fallible human mind is trying to live by faith and if the rapture happens then God is a liar.

    And that would be truly terrifying.

    (Does that make me a bad Christian?)

  6. Savannah says:

    I feel the same; because what if it happens before I get to watch my daughter grow up, or spend at least 5 happy years with my husband? I think that it just shows that I, and others, may not have the right view of heaven if we think earth is so wonderful that we don’t want to leave. We’re promised joy and life free from pain and sorrow, but we’re loathe to give up our earthly happiness because we can’t envision a happiness that isn’t us centered. My house, my husband, my child, my friends, my dogs, even seeing Wicked on stage…they all have a much more tangible draw than a heaven I can only try to understand. I want to want heaven…

  7. ty says:

    Or tomorrow, next week, year, 100,1000 years, and so on. What I’ve actually thought profoundly disappointing is the amount of off handed jokes and comments that are being spewed from Christians and non Christians alike.

  8. Josh says:

    Near as I can tell Camping doesn’t believe in a “rapture” per se. He’s an amillennialist of some kind I think. Not that it makes him any less crazy.

  9. Evan says:

    I’m not any more concerned about tomorrow then I am about it happening the next minute or next week. The odds of Christ returning tomorrow are so slim that if I were a betting man I would be wise to bet everything I own on it NOT happening. And even if I lost the bet… who cares, I’m in Heaven.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Seriously? Even if I were a Christian, I wouldn’t be believing this for a nanosecond. It’s a fairy tale based on a fairy tale. It’s not going to happen tomorrow. It’s never going to happen.

    Even if you really do believe Jesus is gonna come back sometime, you’re better off living as if it isn’t going to happen in your lifetime. It’ll keep you from making dumb mistakes based on someone’s interpretation of a 2000-year-old text in another language, like those poor stupid people who’ve gotten rid of all their money thinking they won’t need it after tomorrow. Stop wasting your energy fretting about it.

    1. Tim Coates says:

      “a 2000-year-old text in another language”
      Euclid’s Elements is 2300 years old in another language.

      And I would have said “someone’s misinterpretation”.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I didn’t say there was anything wrong with using an old, translated text. I said it was dumb to base major decisions solely on an interpretation of such a text. Euclid’s Elements (and its translations) is a mathematical work, not a collection of stories. It doesn’t need interpretation; it has proofs. To compare it to the Bible, as another ancient translated text, as if they both were equally logically sound, is absurd.

        And a misinterpretation is still an interpretation.

        1. Josh says:

          The Bible is actually a history book, with events that are true events in history. There are some that think that the Bible takes place in its own section of history, but It actually happened at the same time as everything else. For instance, in the New Testament, even in the first chapters, it talks about Julius Caesar, who made a decree that a census should be taken of all the know world, This Actually Happened. Don’t call it a collection of stories, call it a history book, a songbook, or just call it as it is: the bible, The Living Word of God, The Word, however you want to put it along those lines.

  11. charity says:

    Tomorrow is my sisters birthday. SHe was born at 5pm. I called her today and told her it stinks to be her…. and that I loved her.

  12. Melissa says:

    Are you seriously nervous? Oh, man, I would be absolutely thrilled if this kooky prediction turned out by some strange coincidence to be correct! It won’t, but still, I wish it would!

  13. Stephanie says:

    I feel the uneasiness you are referring to as well. And, I heard nothing of this stuff until today! What’s up with that?

    But, like Shannon mentioned from Matthew, “no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”, right?

  14. Chad says:

    It’s sad, how many nonreligious people will see this as more “proof” that the Bible has proven wrong?

    1. Toni says:

      This is not proof of the Bible being wrong, this would be proof of man being wrong. This is one (convincing) man’s interpretation of the day of the rapture.

  15. ashley says:

    I have a bit of irrational fear as well. It just exposes my self-righteous tendencies. If I really believe that I am counted righteous in Christ alone (instead of my works or lack there of) why would I fear his return even a little?

    1. Josh says:

      How do you know? “no man knows the day or the hour, only the Father in Heaven.” It could happen right as you are reading this. The only thing that would put it as a perhaps not is this verse: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. -Matthew 24:14. We are getting really close, closer than we’ve ever gotten before. There are people (including myself) that we will see the end of time in our generation.

  16. Jewels says:

    I’m a born again Christian. I don’t believe the rapture is happening today (so much Scripture to denounce this nut)and to be honest, I don’t even believe in the Rapture. But…
    as a Christian, IF the world was ending today, why would I be nervous? It’s a win/win for us Christians. The world goes on or we are in heaven with God.

  17. Kimberly Ross says:

    Ok, so you don’t believe that it could happen at anytime? I believe that it could happen any time and that we won’t know so on the days they predict it I know it won’t bc the bible says we will not know. It will come like a thief in the night. Maybe I misunderstood you…

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