Posted in ignorance, left behind party, may 21 rapture

May 22 "Left Behind" parties all the rage

This is out of Salem, Mass. today

“It’s Sunday, May 22, 2011: Do you know where your soul is?”

“If it remains here in the mortal realm, you’re invited to a “Left Behind” party. The Gathering, a non-denominational Christian church in Salem, is planning the party for anyone who’s still around after the rapture that’s been predicted by Harold Camping, president of the Family Radio network based in Oakland, Calif. A handful of evangelical Christian churches, and Camping’s religious broadcasting network, say that true believers will be with God after Judgment Day comes on Saturday, May 21, while the rest of humanity will suffer in the ruined destroyed world that remains, until the world ends on Oct. 21. The Left Behind party in Salem is based on two ideas: First, that Saturday isn’t the end of days, and second, that God isn’t going to take a small population to heaven and exclude the rest. “We want to present just the opposite view, that God doesn’t want to leave anyone behind,” said Pastor Phil Wyman of The Gathering. Wyman said the idea of some people being raptured and others left behind — which Family Radio has publicized on billboards around Massachusetts and other states — doesn’t mesh with his concept of God’s love and grace.”

May 21 date may or may not be the time of the rapture. That is because it is not a date, it is a number. God has a number in mind for His church. We do not know what that number is, and we do not know how close we are in reaching that number. “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25.) The term full number in the Greek is a nautical term meaning that a ship could legally not set sail until the full number of crewmen were on board. I wrote lots more about the issue here. If you believe that it is a date, then you are obviously ignorant of the information, as Paul said.

That said, let’s look at what this pseudo-pastor has said. He said in effect that God loves us all so much, we’re such good guys, that He wouldn’t leave anyone behind, right? Well, He does love us, that is true. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. But wait, there’s more! “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:17-18) You must have your sins forgiven through Jesus’ work on the cross before you are released from condemnation. Just being ready to accept God’s love without accepting your own sins isn’t going to cut it. So, yes, you will be left behind.

Everyone who espouses liberal theology like this pastor does always leaves out the most important attribute of God. Holiness. We live under the love and grace of a HOLY God. People don’t like to talk about holiness these days because that would mean understanding that they themselves are not holy but are in fact sinners. Compare these two verses:

“And one called out to another and said,” Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

That is the fact of the matter. He is incredibly holy. No words can describe how His glory in perfection and holiness makes all our deeds, thoughts, works, and words as unclean rags. Did you know that the Hebrew translation of filthy rags are the used rags women had worn for their menstrual period? Our deeds to a Holy God are no better than a used tampon. We are THAT unclean.

Finally, this notion of partying. Jesus said that the time of the Tribulation – which begins after the real rapture – will be so bad that if He hadn’t cut short the days no one would survive. Do you know how bad it will be? It will be so bad that immediately after the rapture wars will begin that kill one quarter of the world’s people. (Rev 6) That is 1.7 Billion people. A war in Israel happens, in which Israel is victorious (Gog-Magog, Ez 37-28) and it takes 7 years to bury the dead, that is how many dead there will be. Birds will be gorging on dead flesh (Ez 39:17). Cities will be flattened. Water will be poisoned. “Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth.” Zechariah 14:2. Does that sound like party time to you?

How about this? “The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”

“I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”(Rev 21)

Now THAT’S a party! If God takes us all to live in New Jerusalem as Pastor Wyman thinks, then why does Jesus make a distinction about the only ones who can live there are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

You can have your name written in that book, and the angels will rejoice when it is. All you have to do is accept that you are a sinner, and ask Jesus to forgive them. That’s it. Do it today.

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Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.