I’ve read more than my fair share about The Rapture. Somehow stories about “the end” have often found a way to my shelf and I discovered Left Behind when the series had just put out book 4 in paperback – they already had over 4 million readers and I found it in a Waldenbooks, on an end cap with all four books stacked up there. The marketing team on the covers did a nice job, so I picked up the first book. Several years and 15 books later, and I’m pretty well read on the theory of it all. Did it impact my world view? My religious beliefs? My day to day coding expertise? Nah. I read the books as fiction, no matter how preachy they got. After the third or fourth book, I actually got really good at skipping the chunks of preaching, and kept the story and dialog moving quite well.
In fact, three things stood out to me from the book series: the authors of the series tell a great story, they have great copy editors (because I found very, very few errors in their text, unlike a lot of books today,) and they really believe in what they’re writing about. And if you do opt to read these books, end up changing religions, and are happy about that, then I’m happy for you, but it didn’t happen that way for me. I often recommend fictional books and this set is one of them for me. If I acted on all of the fiction I read… well, between Tolkien and Lewis, I would be trying on every single ring I saw, hoping for something glorious to happen. Ah well.
Anyway, imagine my surprised when I heard that someone had predicted the actual date of The Rapture – I said “Eh?” and went straight to Wikipedia.
The first thing that strikes me on this is that people think this is the first time The Rapture has been tagged with a date. I didn’t know other people had done this – slap a date on the would-be event – but after doing a fast fact check, yeah: other people have predicted The Rapture before. This is just the first time someone has done so with some math, put the date so close to the end of the Mayan calendar, and since Facebook was started. This means that it’s getting a lot more attention than anyone else has in history. Hell, based off a radio show today it sounds like Time picked up the story this month and that’s caused the AP wire to pick it up… did this happen before Facebook got a hold of it? Hard to tell – could be that Time is giving us what it thinks we want to see, based off status posts, rather than deciding on stories and drive us to them.
The other thing that people are getting “wrong” from the traditional story of The Rapture is that the end of the world at midnight on May 21, 2011 in Times Square; The Rapture traditionally marks the start of the process that ends the world. Per the stories I’ve seen, The Rapture is when a bunch of people are removed from the planet. Physically and instantly, and only their bodies. Clothing stays behind. And that’s why if such a think should happen, you won’t miss it: the Left Behind series goes out of its way to show the chaos of this event. People that are driving just *pop* and the car keeps going, causing crashes. Airline pilots, heavy machinery workers, etc. That marks the start of the end – everyone that’s still around on the planet is now in a state of flux. Based off biblical text, a few months after that the Anti-Christ rises to world power and that starts the last seven years on Earth.
And of course, the core of this is in the bible anyway. It’s always been about how you interpret it and what decisions you make from it. The Christian sects that believe in and teach about The Rapture take the biblical stories very literally. Catholics are taught the Book of Revelation but they never, ever mentioned The Rapture during the 14 years of schooling I sat through. Even the guy that is saying “May 21!” had to take the scientific leap that when the bible says you get seven days warning that it’s 7000 years of warning, in some cases. Imagery, symbolism, allegory, whatever you want to call it. People take a story and bend it for their needs all the time; Washington DC is made on such things.
So, this weekend, keep an eye out for someone to go *kerPLOINK* from their clothing. If science is involved in this, things should align to Israel’s time zone… home field advantage and all that.
Me? Am I a Believer? By knowing all of this history, does this mean I’m expecting to be Saved on Saturday? Nah. I just have too much random knowledge knocking around in my head, mostly from reading too much. I read the five books from Rozenberg which also has an end scenario. I saw the Seventh Sign when that first came to VHS. End times are always make for a good story, but I’ve ready, debated, and conversed about far more than that. I’ve had more in depth posts about why there are good articles in Playboy – did anyone else know Rudy Guiliani was interviewed by then in the early 90’s? – or why Frodo should have just hopped on an Eagle, did a fly over Mordor, and tossed the ring into The Fire. Xanth, Incarnations, Photon/Phaze, Potter, Vampire/Mayfair, Narnia, Babylon, Star Trek, Star Wars… way too much useless knowledge in the noggin.
Me, I’ll be on the east coast this weekend, eating pizza and drinking Dunkin’ coffee …and I’ll be expecting to stay in my clothing no matter what happens on Saturday.