I’m not following the sequence of the Bible in these posts; that’s because I want to talk about the parts that come up in conversations I have with my internet friends, and that provoke me to express what I think about them.
There is a lot of talk about how the dates in this year 1/11/11 and 11/1/11 and 11/11/11 all seem to be portentious and that the biggie is going to be December next year when on the 20th day , the date will be 20122012 or some combination of those numerals depending on where you live.
I did speak about dates and dating in an earlier post, so I’m not going to bore my readers with more of the same here. Instead I want to talk about “the rapture” as supposedly foretold in Revelation, except it doesn’t foretell any rapture.
All the book does is speak about metaphorical fantasies, which as I said in a previous post, sound like the ramblings of someone high on LSD! These verses are some of those that supposedly describe the events on that day, with seven angels performing magical feats with vials filled with something not explained.
2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.So what exactly is the rapture and where does it come from? It comes from this verse:
Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
The “firstfruits” refers to the tradition of sacrifice from the texts in the Pentateuch, when the priests were told to collect the firstborn animals from the flocks of their congregations and the first fruit of the harvests from their fields. These offerings were delivered to the priests who made a show of burning them up to God.
The sacrificial offerings always had to be unblemished, perfect from every point of view. No bruised fruit or deformed lambs for God, no, the best the pick of every litter or crop.
This is carried forward to the idea of the people who God will harvest to populate eternity. Because of this, the faithfully have to be faultless, or they won’t be chosen.
The actual image of “graves giving up their dead” or people being whipped off to the sky from wherever they happen to be on the day of the “second coming” or the rapture, are nothing but the thumbsucking meanderings of the deluded minds of people with some sort of agenda, that agenda usually being getting other deluded people to give them money.
But look at the actual words of that verse: “they who were not defiled with women” in other words, unmarried men who have never “known” women in the biblical sense. This therefore excludes all men who have stuck to vows of chastity, and no other. But not only that, being “defiled with women” by implication makes women into “defilers.” Do women really want to be part of something that views them as “defilers?”
Despite all the above, there is one point that most believers miss completely.
When the book of Revelation was written, the people writing it believed that the earth was flat and that day and night were the same not matter where they happened to be. They knew that there were places far away, obviously. Even though they travelled they didn’t know that when the sun came up in the area of the Euphrates, it was still dark in Rome-- they are two hours apart! They merely accepted the idea that morning was the same everywhere, and night was the same everywhere. Imagine how they would have been confused by the idea that when it’s midnight in Baghdad, it is midday in America? When they thought about the relationship of the sun and moon to the earth, they were convinced that the sun moved around the earth and that the earth just hung there on a level plane.
We know now that it is physically impossible, even if angels did exist, for people in America to know that there are vials being emptied over Baghdad or Rome, unless CNN’s correspondents are filming the event. Even if it was possible for Jesus to come floating down on a cloud to collect the 144,000 men to drag off to heaven with him, the logistics of finding, and assembling all of them in one place would be a nightmare of organisation. Even if God were capable to stopping the earth from spinning, flattening it out into single flat plane, the physics, even to my unscientific mind, would cause unimaginable catastrophes.
So with some rationality about dates being merely a simple way to differentiate one day, month or year from another, and there being nothing magical about the way their numbers line up to produce patterns, 144,000 “undefiled” men being found from all the millions of candidates around the world, and visions of clouds, angels and Jesus all happening and being able to be seen at the same time, let’s drop this stupidity shall we?
There is no rapture coming, not this year in November, nor next year in December. The world will keep revolving around the sun. And if that’s not enough to convince you, then think about the 144,000 undefiled men the next time you go out on a date. For women just the idea that you are a ‘defiler’ ought to be enough for you to drop the idea of a misogynistic God who thinks so little of you, yet expects you to keep grovelling and giving him money.