Wednesday, December 07, 2011

From the Junk Mail Folder

As I’ve mentioned before (“Did I say ‘no one’? I meant ‘hardly anyone’”), pretty much every day my office e-mail is graced with a Rapture and End Times message from, appropriately enough, They claim it’s “because you have expressed an interest in Rapture and End Times,” but that’s only one of the falsehoods their messages typically contain. I’ve expressed no such interest, nor have I visited their website. (What would be the point?) I rather suspect I receive it because I work at a church office; several of my colleagues have reported receiving it as well, and for no other apparent reason.

Although I seldom read their messages (again, what would be the point?), I have noticed that they changed their Gmail address earlier this month. It had always been kingdomofheavenin2011; as of this week it’s the much less poetic raptureandendtimes.

Which I take to be their tacit acknowledgement that the rapture is unlikely to take place within the next 3½ weeks.

Still, points for sticktuitiveness. Earlier this autumn, they were pretty sure that everything would hit the fan during Rosh Hashanah. Which began at sunset on September 28 and ended at sunset on September 30. Indeed, on September 29 they sent out a message with the subject line “Your Last Chance.” That message I did read, of course, or at least the first couple of paragraphs:
    We have finally made it to the end! If you have been following our messages, you know that we expect the Rapture to occur during the Jewish Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). The Feast started on Wednesday 28th at about sunset Jerusalem time, and will run through for two days ending on the 30th. So we don’t know the exact day and hour!
    In our first messages and on the website, we determined the “season” of the Rapture by exploring the Holy Bible, the customs of the Jewish people and the history of the nation of Israel. The Jewish wedding ceremony revealed the theme and model of the Rapture, and helped determine the sequence of events. We focused on comparing Matthew chapter 24 and Revelation chapter 6 to comprehend the Tribulation period. The reestablishment of Israel as a nation, the definition of a Biblical generation, the Jewish feasts and the Feast of Trumpets guided us to the possible year of the Rapture. This brought us to the dates of September 29-30, 2011 as a likely time for the Lord to return to snatch away His bride.
I was struck by the clever way in which they squirmed around the troublesome fact that Jesus himself is given to say that no one knows when the Second Coming will occur, viz., “Well, we think it’ll be sometime this, you see, we don’t claim to know the day or the hour. Just, you know, the time frame.” Nice.

As near as I could tell, the rapture did not occur at any time that weekend. It is true that the office was a little underpopulated that Monday morning...but it always is on a Monday morning. Eventually everybody turned up. And keep in mind that I work with churchy people--certainly one or two of them would have been “snatched up,” were any snatching-up going on.

Although there was no Rapture and End Times message in my inbox that morning.

Indeed, the last message from them had been the “Your Last Chance” message on September 29.

You don’t suppose...

But no. On Tuesday, October 4, they were back in business again, with nary a mention of the Rosh Hashanah weekend, a tack that I cannot think about without the word chutzpah leaping to mind. The rapture having stubbornly refused to occur, they were obligied to fall back on vagueness:
    If you have been following our messages, you know that we show that the Rapture “window of time” is closing rapidly. We know this because the Lord gave Christians very specific signs to look for.
He also kind of told us to not bother looking for said signs, but everybody needs a hobby.

They also included this rather puzzling instruction:
    Caution: The Lord is sovereign and can take us whenever He wants. In the Bible we can see many examples of the Lord delaying judgement or changing His plans. The book of Jonah has a perfect example of this. But if the Rapture does happen shortly, this is your last chance - to prepare your heart and to reach out to your family and friends.
So in other words: The rapture’s a-comin’. Unless it isn’t. But if it is, you gotta be ready. You know, as ready as you can be for something that may or may not be a-comin’. Did we mention this is your last chance?

And now they seem to have abandoned the whole idea that their much-anticipated rapture will take place yet this calendar year. Which makes me a little sad, in fact. For them. I put no more stock in their prognostications than I do in the statements of those who insist the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world next year. But clearly they do, and it’s kind of sad to watch them squirm and struggle around the fact that they really dont have any idea, and neither does anybody else.

Well, fun’s fun, but I think I’ll stick to my longtime plan, namely, live the life, try to be decent toward people and small animals, and let the universe take care of itself.

So far so good, I might add.

No comments: