Christian Nation / religion · October 26, 2008

What if the Rapture already happened, and you missed it? A Christian Halloween Story

What if the Rapture has already happened?

You would think someone would have noticed. The Bible paints the rapture as a very quick and noisy event.

There will be trumpets and dead people rising from their graves. People will disappear. Air liners full of people will go crashing to the ground as the pilots disappear. (Hm. And will it be a straight trip to Hell through a fireball’s explosion for those remaining airline passengers? Wouldn’t that be unfair, considering there will be people who have the chance to get right with God after the rapture?)

Everything in the Bible says that it will happen fast, with lots of fanfare and noise!

But… doesn’t the Bible also claim that Jesus will return soon? “The day is at hand” said Paul, “The time is short!” James, traditionally thought of as the brother of Jesus also says that “the Lord’s return is near!”. By the time we get to 2 Peter in the bible, people are already starting to ask, “Where is he?”

When I ask when, approximately, will the end times happen I get different answers – depending on which Christian sect responds. The answer is all over the map – but from my own completely nonscientific polling, the overwhelming majority (5 out of 7) Christians that I’ve spoken to say that it will happen in their or their children’s lifetime.

It’s been 2,000 years now folks. Maybe we just don’t have the same concept of time as a deity?

Maybe when God (assuming he exists) says “fast” it means something else. Maybe when he says “day” he really means “all in a day’s work for me!”

For example, according to the Day-Age Creationist theory, each “day” of the creation story in the book of Genesis is equal to an age that is in accordance to the evidence of cosmology and evolution. The chronology of Archbishop James Ussher is inaccurate, according to this theory, because of a slightly different way of translating the Hebrew words for father and son to mean forefather and descendant.

So I can’t help but wonder… if the idea of the return of Jesus in a timeframe of “soon” has been misconstrued, then perhaps we have made a similar mistake with the idea of the rapture happening “fast” or “in an instant”.

After all, wouldn’t all of the eternity of our universe be but an instant to the God that is described by Christians?

So maybe the rapture has been happening v e r y s l o w l y, in comparison to the human time frame.

Different Christian sects look at the rapture time frame differently. There are some who believe that the rapture will happen after the tribulation, and those who believe that the rapture will happen midway through the tribulation. But most evangelical Christians believe in the “Pre-tribulation rapture” – where the rapture will happen after certain prophesies are are fulfilled, and will be followed by a period of tribulations – just like the “Left Behind” series of books.

There is disagreement about the accuracy of prophecies in the Bible. Perhaps the prophecies won’t happen in the manner described in popular Christian works. Maybe they have been fulfilled in a way that we mere mortals wouldn’t recognize in order to prevent interference with our free will.

Let’s think about the “Christian dead rising from their graves” – if it happened one at a time over a period of a couple of hundred years – would anyone notice? Especially if they just faded out of their caskets or other final resting places.

And people disappear all the time. Wandered off, run away, missing in action. Their missing person report would go into the cold case files and will be a curiosity for some future researcher. How many thousands of people go missing each year? How many over the last few centuries? Perhaps it would be enough to fill up Heaven.

So, with all these Christian objections dispersed with some hand waving – wouldn’t it be an interesting idea to think that the Rapture happened already – that no one noticed – that we are already living in the time of tribulation?

It’s kind of a scary thought – especially if you are one of those Christians who are absolutly certain that you’ll be one of those who are “taken up”.

It’s obvious that this goes against mainstream Christian mythology. Still, I think it is a fascinating subject to consider.

I wonder if it could be made into a Christian “Twilight Zone” episode?