So, Grumpy Pastor wants you to go see the movie. Then, GP wants you to pull out this blog post, and maybe your bible, and talk some more. Now, here is where Grumpy is going to throw you for a loop. That whole rapture thing? The end of days as the story has been told in the Left Behind series of books and movies? How some folks are just going to magically disappear and get whisked away to heaven leaving their clothes on the ground? It’s not biblical. Nope.
The rapture comes from something called “Dispensationalism.” It was created by a guy named John Nelson Darby in the late 1800’s. To get to his math-like formula for how Christ was specifically going to return he added a couple of chapters of Daniel, a few verses from 1 Thessalonians, a few verses from 1 Corinthians, and some of Revelation.
Physically look at a copy of your bible. See the problem? That is a minute portion of all scripture. It’s picking and choosing some obscure stuff to make a theory about Christ’s return.
The rapture and the kind of stuff you will get in all of the Left Behind movies and books… it doesn’t square up with the bible. And that’s okay. It doesn’t need to. Grumpy Pastor still wants you to see it. Because, it might just get you to talk about faith and God and stuff.
So, if the rapture and all of that stuff is a bunch of phony bologna, well then what? We do confess in that creed we recite every Sunday that Jesus Christ is going to come again. What about that Mr. Smarty-Pants Grumpy Pastor?
When Grumpy reads Revelation there are two sets of verses that give GP great comfort. Revelation 1:3 addresses when all of the stuff described in it is going to happen. It reads, “...for the time is near.” Then further on in 22:20 it reads, “The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.”
So. The time is near and Jesus is coming soon. This is good news.
But wait! Uh oh. How does that work? Revelation was written about 1900 years ago. This is kind of problematic. It appears that Jesus forgot to set his cosmic alarm clock and managed to oversleep for the last two millennia. Or it could be something else. The words of Revelation are true and Jesus is indeed soon coming back, and the time is near. And Grumpy Pastor reads this to be correct. Jesus Christ might just be coming back fairly often.
- Just how often does Jesus Christ return to us? Jesus Christ comes again to us in communion! Jesus is present in the bread and the wine!
- Jesus Christ comes again to us in our baptism!
- Jesus Christ comes again to us whenever we hear or read scripture!
- Jesus Christ comes again to us whenever two or three of us are gathered in his name!
These are just four ways Jesus comes back. If you search scripture, you might even find some more ways in which Jesus is already coming back to us. Not in some far-away distant future with disappearing people and Nicholas Cage, but coming back right here, and right now.