Why the Rapture Should be Left Behind

February 22, 2011

There’s a moment of childhood panic that is familiar to many evangelicals. In fact, for some, the experience continues well into adult life. It’s the panic that ensues when you suddenly find yourself alone in a location where you would normally expect to find other people (e.g. your home, school, dormitory). Where is everyone? Why am I the only one here? The terrifying thought inevitably kicks in: they’ve been raptured and I’ve been left behind!

I’ve even heard of pranks in Bible college dormitories where all the students, minus the target of the prank, empty out of the dorm early in the morning leaving clothes strategically placed on their beds. Someone blows a trumpet to wake the poor remaining student (and because Jesus’ return is to be announced by trumpets, of course). The poor student wakes up to find his worst fears confirmed. He wasn’t truly saved and now he’s going to have to slog it out through the tribulation with the rest of the heathen.

With the recent popularity of the Left Behind series by Jenkins and LaHaye, this distortion of the New Testament’s apocalyptic texts has probably become even more ingrained in the evangelical psyche.

Earlier today, John Byron posted the following helpful video in which Barbara Rossing explains the surprisingly recent origins of the idea of a rapture and why it’s an idea best left behind:



  1. I would concur that there is an imbalanced focus in some “Christian” circles on end times theology. Whole ministries dedicated to which year Jesus will come back or deciphering every last sign that we are in the “end times”.

    There is way too much focus on figuring out “details” and coming up with all of the answers. If God wanted us to know the specifics of the beginning and the end of the world he would have had the writers dedicate a whole lot more “ink” to these topics. It is as if we are supposed to have a vague idea of what happened in the beginning and what is to come, but not focus on it.

    Ironically, I’m unconvinced that Barbara hasn’t fallen into the same pitfall as those who are trying to map out the “end times”. Instead of striving to find out what will be, she is focusing on what will not be.

    While she claims that “key” verses are taken out of context, she adds no insight as to what the proper context should be. This leads me to believe that her own point of view is not based on what her own scriptural study but is simply regurgitating the writings of others.

  2. Hi JP,
    Thanks for commenting. I definitely agree about the excess of ink spilled over the end times. As for Rossing, if you click through to watch the video in Youtube, you’ll see quite a few related videos by her. She has a whole series on Revelation there, which might help to give you a better sense of her take on the book. Hope that helps.

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