These are the chronicles of the esoteric . . .
Unless everybody that I know — including myself — wasn't taken, the rapture did not happen today.
Was I disappointed? Slightly. Did I believe it? Not at all.
I think for most people it was pretty clear that this apocolyptic prediction was bogus. At least it was for everybody I know. I myself did make the visit to the promotional website and sat the few mintues it took to read through the so-called biblical calculations and supporting evidence. Suffice it to say the site didn't make a whole lot of (theological) sense — there were quite a few leaps and bounds across passages and arguments, not to mention a time-line pulled straight out of thin air.
But it did get a tonne of publicity.
Everybody was talking about it. A good chunk of Facebook statuses were related to it; I'm sure if I was on Twitter I'd see that many of its updates were also in reference to it. Despite its popularity — and in spite of how many people globally who may have actually bought into the whole farce — most of the remarks regarding the so-called imminent rapture (at least within the circle of influence I frequent) were made mockingly.
It was a joke. Nobody in any degree of separation from me took the declaration of rapture seriously. And while it is fun to jokingly speculate whether the laundry should be done if the world is going to end anyhow — or if we should bother with any grocery shopping — the joke certainly would have been on us if the rapture had happened.
While people who claim to have the authority for interpreting apocolpytic literature accurately pop up throughout history and are convincing to some, I think as Christians we should be a little less gullible.1 Instead of speculating the year, month and day the Second Coming will occur — since the Scriptures specifically say nobody knows when it is going to happen,2 in effect telling us the when isn't the important detail — we should be living as though the Coming could be tomorrow. Perhaps even tonight. This of course is not to say we should be living in the hillside, with nothing to our name save for hope. The first disciples of the early church lived with expectancy, but they still held jobs — in fact, Paulages them to keep working.3 Instead, this is to say we should simply be constantly aware of Jesus' return. Without some sense of urgency lethargy creeps in, and we must guard against becoming settled, indifferent and comfortable with the way things are like so many Christians have.
It is not up to us to know when life as we know it will end and when life as we don't know it will begin. But we can learn from false prophets. Indeed, at the least we in our complacency are reminded that Jesus is in fact coming back. Perhaps we have become too comfortable with life as it is; perhaps we laugh off people who talk about the end of the world. But with apocolyptic predictions like Harold Camping's we should be jolted out of our self-confidence — shaken out of our certainty that there will be a tomorrow. We must learn to be aware of the Coming of Christ, and the inauguration of Adonai's full reign; we must allow this awareness to affect our actions so that we live as a godly people, holy and set apart, and so we don't become so careless we forget who it is we're living for.
This awareness should shape the very way our attitudes, perceptions and relationships are built; it shouldn't lead us to abandon everything we have and are in this existence. Those who are called to leave behind their lives for missions are still acting in this world and for their brothers and sisters, doing God's work wherever He leads them. The awareness of Jesus' return isn't meant to lead us into blind recklessness — instead, it should govern us in the way we conduct ourselves as His children here and now until He decides it's time to begin the new earth and the new heaven. It should in fact create a sense of (Christian) responsibility for not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us.
And thus when the rapture actually does happen, we may be numbered among those who will remain in existence, in the presence of our God, and not those who are cast out for their disobedience, their neglect, their apathy, their rejection. While we should be wary of end-of-the-world proclaimers, we can be thankful for their reminder to take hold of our lives and live like followers of Jesus — to live as the people of God every single day we're given.
1. Mark 13:5.
2. Matthew 24:36-51; Mark 13:32-37; Acts 1:7.
3. 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.