Is The Rapture Still Imminent?
By Grant Phillips
First of all, allow me to provide some synonyms from the thesaurus for “imminent:” about to happen, looming, coming up, forthcoming, pending, impending, in the offing, on the cards, on the agenda, on the horizon, just round the corner, in the stars, in the pipeline, and at hand. The one antonym is; distant.
How do you feel about Harold Camping’s failed Rapture prediction? The non-Christian world is having a field day. I have read several of the secular world’s comments, and they are obviously even more adamant in their opinion of us Christians; i.e. we are all ignorant and a few bricks shy of a load. Our elevator does not reach the top floor. We are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. It has been confirmed by Mr. Camping and his followers that none of us have enough sense to come in out of the rain. Need I say more? I think not. I’m sure you get the point.
On the other hand, I can see where many good Christian people are totally embarrassed, and why they would shy away from even mentioning the Rapture to others. Why associate them selves with this obvious cult leader and suffer the ridicule? Is it any wonder that we, who know the Rapture is true and will happen, find it difficult in helping our own Christian brothers and sisters in Christ to see the reality that the Rapture will, in fact, happen, at God’s chosen time?
I have mentioned two groups thus far; (1) the non-Christian world, who believes more by the day that we Christians are all ignorant kooks and good for a laugh, and (2) Christians, who do not believe in the Rapture, or are either ashamed to say they do.
I asked in the second paragraph of this article, “How do you feel about Harold Camping’s failed Rapture prediction?” Actually, this is his third failed prediction, and I feel confident that he is now working on his fourth. Allow me to give you my take.
First or all, any Rapture-believing Christian knew for a fact that there would be no Rapture on Mr. Camping’s predicted date. Jesus said, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” (Mark 13:32-33) I do not bet, but if I did, that would be the one day that I could bet that the Rapture would not occur, and I would win.
Some of you may remember a scene in the Cecil B. DeMille movie, “The Ten Commandments”, starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner. Pharaoh, Rameses II, played by Yul Brenner, has come back to his palace after watching God destroy his army in the Red Sea. He and his Queen, Nefretiri (or Nefertari), played by Anne Baxter, are seated on their respective thrones when Nefretiri smiles (like the Cheshire cat) and says to him in the most sarcastic tone one could imagine, “His God? The priests say that Pharaoh is a god. But you are not a god. You are even less than a man! Listen to me, Rameses. You thought I was evil when I went to Moses. And you were right. Shall I tell you what happened, Rameses? He spurned me like a strumpet in the street. I, Nefretiri, Queen of Egypt! All that you wanted from me he would not even take! Do you hear laughter Pharaoh? Not the laughter of kings, but the laughter of slaves on the desert island!” Do you hear laughter? Oh yes! It’s coming through loud and clear, thanks to Mr. Camping.
Harold Camping is not the first to make failed predictions for the Rapture, and he won’t be the last, unless maybe it happens before I finish this article. It is people like him, and so many others, that Satan has used to deceive mankind. I have no doubt that Satan is behind this whole charade, laughing hilariously at the confusion he has caused. Satan and his minions laugh. Sadly, for those without Christ, the laughter will be turned to tears when the Rapture does occur, and it will happen, at God’s chosen time.
The first thing that came to mind when Mr. Camping announced his Rapture prediction was the result we are now hearing, and also something Peter said,
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4) These two verses and the results from this charlatan, Mr. Camping, indicate to me that this too can be considered a sign of the last days preceding the return of Christ for His Church.
When will the Rapture occur? I haven’t a clue, except it will happen when God is ready for it to happen. I will say this. God makes it clear that we cannot know the day or the hour, but I do believe we can know the season, and the season seems to be upon us. How long is the season? I don’t know. Are we at the beginning of the season, the middle, or near the end? Again, I don’t know. I do know that Jesus was very displeased with the Pharisees and Sadducees for not recognizing the signs of His first coming to earth. Does it not make sense that He expects us to recognize the signs He is showing us today of His near second coming and the Rapture preceding it? “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:1-3)
I am aware of Jesus’ statement to the Apostles just prior to His ascension back to Heaven. “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7) Since Scripture cannot contradict itself, in comparing Matthew 16:1-3 with Acts 1:7, I do not believe Jesus is saying we cannot recognize the signs He gives us, but He is saying that the Father has control of the times and seasons, and they are in His hands. Also, again, we cannot know the day or the hour. Further, when the season does arrive, He will show us the signs we need to know for that season, in order that we may know that we are in that season.
Therefore, what we have just witnessed simply strengthens my belief that our departure may be sooner than we think, because Jesus also said, “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:40) The hour we are in would certainly qualify, since we and our Bridegroom are now the world’s laughing stock. No one would expect it. But, I must caution. How long is the hour in question? At what part of the hour are we? Only God Himself has those answers. We do not know, but we should be watching and be prepared. In the meantime, there is much work to do. As Paul would say, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Let us press on, and be looking up. The Rapture is still imminent.Grant Phillips