1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 says:
15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 says:
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Although the word “rapture” itself does not appear in the Bible, the concept of it surely does. “Rapture” is derived from the Latin word “rapio,” which means “caught up.” Just because the word doesn’t appear in the Bible, doesn’t mean the concept that it represents doesn’t or won’t occur.
On May 9, rolling out‘s deputy editor, Zondra Hughes, published a story about a Colorado-born minister in California by the name of Harold Camping who is predicting that the Rapture — the return of Christ to receive believers, both dead and alive — will take place on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Within two hours, the story got some 700 hits. At this moment, that number has climbed to an astounding 9,342!
Whatever God’s purpose for allowing this preacher to make such a prediction is all in the grand scheme of things, whether it occurs on May 21 or not. What if the Rapture doesn’t happen on that date? People will return to “life as usual” just as they mistakenly did in the days of Noah and Moses and as they did in the story The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Later, they regretted that they didn’t listen.
So, what if the Rapture never happens? Like unruly children, do we have to have a threat of something disastrous hanging over our heads to live right? “If you don’t love and treat people right and don’t stop sleeping around, I’m going to spank you with the Rapture?” That’s not what it’s all about. Like a college boyfriend used to always say as his motto, “I stay ready to keep from gettin’ ready!” That’s what it’s about — being prepared whatever the day, whatever the event.
It’s not about being afraid or being caught off guard because of the Rapture. In today’s world, the likelihood of dying from a number of reasons should be of more concern than the Rapture. I personally can think of at least five young people in their early 20s or younger who have died in the past year from violence, drugs, car crashes, and even natural causes such as blood clots. That figure doesn’t even include people in other age groups.
Pastors T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long and any other high-profile gospel celebrities as well as preachers everywhere, we need you to talk to the masses in today’s hip-hop generation about “getting ready for the Rapture.” What are you really doing to get them ready? When I was a child, preachers always preached the Second Coming. Today, it’s rarely mentioned.
You talk to them about power and prosperity, but what about their foul mouths, filthy music, greed, being intoxicated on drugs and alcohol, hate, jealousy, murder, lying, stealing, fornication and adultery that’s leading to unprecedented numbers of HIV and AIDS cases, babies having babies and the neglect of those babies, and broken homes for broken children, Satanic influence, and just a general disregard and disrespect for anything and everything that is godly and pure. Have we gotten that far way from the basics of what we say we believe?
We all know right from wrong, but hip-hop needs to hear how to get ready regularly so it will get into their spirits. No one is invincible or immortal. No one is getting out of here alive. No, it’s not only about the Rapture. It’s about being prepared at all times to meet your Maker. It’s about a better quality of living and a better world for us all … right now … today. –arnell pharr