For God So Loved The World

Some theologies can easily lead to a hatred for “this world” which seems to me to be very contrary to Jesus whole ministry.
I was recently having a conversation with Amanda about a video she saw on myspace about “the rapture,” I will load the video here if she finds it for me. The video was apparently a series of pairs of people, they would be happy and talking, then one would disappear and the other would be left in sadness. Some of the comments left on this video were interesting, one person said ‘yes! That’s what it’s going to be like’ another said that she didn’t think the bible said anything about rapture while others mocked her (they must be mocking me too) saying that it was obviously in the bible as they misquoted some verses in scripture. The video seemed to be a reference to Luke 17:34-36.
“I tell you, in that night there will be two [men] in one bed: the one will be
taken and the other will be left. Two [women] will be grinding together: the one
will be taken and the other left. *Two [men] will be in the field: the one will
be taken and the other left."

This seems to be an obvious reference to rapture, right? Well, just one question? Does it tell us in this text who is better, the one being “taken” or the one being left? Since it doesn’t you have to consider the context.
Verses 26-27 read:
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the
Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in
marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed
all of them.”
In the days of Noah, who was taken? The flood took the many, the sinners. Noah was left behind… that seems to imply that being left is better than being taken. Right? But it doesn’t stop there.
Verses 28 and 29 say:
"Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought,
they sold, they planted, they built;"but on the day that Lot went
out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them
Again, who is being “left behind?” The fire came and destroyed them all—it took them all, except Lot. So in this case too doesn’t it seem better to be left behind? So shouldn’t we apply the same logic, the logic Jesus has used throughout all the stages of his argument thus far, to interpret verses 34-36?
Yet, in the comments of the video on myspace a girl was being mocked for not seeing how “obviously” the rapture was presented in scripture.
Finally, the comment I found most saddening came from a kid who agreed with the message of the video. It said, “I can’t wait, this world sucks.” It defiantly got me thinking. Apparently, this kid was under the impression that he was someday going to escape this place and go to a different place all together. I don’t understand how any reading of scripture could lead someone to such a conclusion. The Narrative seems to begin and end in the same place. It begins with Eden and ends with Eden-restored. The new heaven and new earth talked about in Revelation 21 is the renewal of everything, not the replacement. Christianity, therefore, is about loving this world, embracing it and restoring it, re-claiming it for what it was originally created to be. For God so loved the world… and so a Christian does too.
So any reading of the scripture that leads to an escapist, get-me-outa-here, mentality should be re-thought and abandoned. The gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is that the world has been, is being, and will one day be made completely new… not that it will be replaced or that we will one day get to leave it and go to some other place altogether.


Anonymous said…
for God so loved the world that he took his presence from it. He decided that the incarnation was a bad idea in the first place...that those selfish humans didn't deserve Jesus nor His presence through His followers in the contemporary age. So, He took all the people He really loved out of the world so he could torch it and not feel bad.

I don't know...that version of John 3:16 really doesn't work, does it?
wellis68 said…
no it doesn't, thanks for the comment Rob.
Anonymous said…
Maryellen and I have often said and taught that the rapture theology formed and propagated in modern times is part if not the reason for the great falling away at the end. People still here when the Anti - Christ begins his rule will be faith - broken (like heart broken) and out of depression and so on turn to the ruler of this world turning away from Christ to avoid the tribulation to come Satan‘s wrath upon Christians you know not being able to buy or sell ie make a living ect. The great rapture or the great deception others need to take seriously searching the Scriptures like Wes to see what they are saying not popular authors and hyped up evangelists trying to raise money and their conversion number count from fear.
Pastor Art