“Two days ago, a fanatical Bush supporter from amongst the staff at the Monkey Palace, cornered me in the cafeteria with the fiercely joyful news that she was leaving the White House. I assumed that, like a growing number of disillusioned staff persons, she was getting better employment elsewhere, such as the Humane Society’s Kitten-Gassing commando or our very own District Sanitation Department, Minority Free Lunch Division, but no, she advised me that Rapture was coming soon and she and her entire family were “going to see Jesus” in person! There used to be quite a bit of that sort of blather around here but of late it is getting very muted. Since I had no historical background in the subject, I looked it up and have come to some very specific and clear cut views on the subject. I will share these with you now although there is always the possibility that I might be wrong and truly Be Left Behind.
‘The Rapture’ is a term most commonly used to describe an event in certain systems of Christian eschatology whereby “all true Christians are taken from Earth by God into Heaven.” Although almost all forms of Christianity believe that those who are “saved” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, the term “rapture” is usually applied specifically to those theories saying that “Christians alive before the end of the world will be taken into heaven,” and there will be an intermediate time frame where non-Christians will be still left on earth before “Christ arrives to set up his earthly kingdom.”
The word “Rapture” is not found in the Bible. There is also no single word used by the biblical authors to describe the prophetic factors which comprise the doctrine. Roman Catholics and nearly all of the main-line Protestants do not accept the concept of a rapture in which some are “taken up into Heaven” before the end of the world; this idea did not exist in the teachings of any Christians whatsoever until the late18th, and early 19th centuries, so it cannot be said to belong to Apostolic tradition.
The legend of the Rapture is not mentioned in any Christian writings, until after the year 1830. Whether the early writers were Greek or Latin, Armenian or Coptic, Syrian or Ethiopian, English or German, orthodox or heretic, no one mentioned a syllable about it. Of course, those who feel the origin of the teaching is in the Bible would say that it only ceased being taught (for some unknown reason) at the close of the apostolic age only to reappear in 1830 But if the doctrine were so clearly stated in Scripture, it seems incredible that no one should have referred to it before the 19th and early 20th century. This does not, in and of itself prove conclusively that the story is wrong, but it does mean that thousands of eminent scholars and theologians who lived over a span of seventeen centuries (including some of the most astute of the religious scholars of the early Christian and, later of the Reformation and post-Reformation periods) must be considered as grossly incompetent for not having either knowledge or understanding of a teaching viewed by fringe religious groups as so central to their beliefs. This lapse of seventeen centuries, when no one mentioned anything about it, is certainly a serious obstacle to its reliability or its acceptance by the less credulous.
One of the strongest, and less appetizing, proponents of this theory was one Charles Fox Parham. Charles Parham was born in 1873, became a preacher by age 14/15, Charles Parham was a racist, becoming a full-fledged member of the KKK by 1910. Parham was also arrested for “repeated and carnal sexual indiscretions” with young boys. Parham was the first Pentecostal preacher to pray over handkerchiefs and mail them to those who desired his ministrations . Naturally, Parham charged money for these energized handkerchiefs.
In 1908 Parham raised funds from among his deluded parishioners to travel to the Holy Land on an “archaeological expedition to search for the lost ark of the covenant.” He claimed to the press that he had information about its location and that his finding the ark would fit into the end times biblical scheme. By December he announced that he had sufficient funds and he traveled to New York allegedly to begin his journey to Jerusalem. He never purchased a ticket to the Middle East and returned home dejectedly in January, claiming he was robbed after arriving in New York. His parishioners had been robbed somewhat earlier.
Naturally, I have no intention of communicating my findings on this hilarious subject to my fellow worker. Seeing the on-going ruination of the God-intoxicated George W. (‘Fuck-the-Constitution”) Bush before her very eyes is more than enough for such a dim-wit to have to deal with. We ought not to dishonor the dead.”
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