Rapture? It's getting close to Sept. 23!
Well, the internet has been abuzz about this (websites, blogs, YouTube) and the enthusiasts are convinced that they are "out of here" on the eve of this date. It all started some years ago when someone reading Revelation 12 saw the text "And a great sign appeared in heaven..." So, he studied the astronomy charts and associated the woman mentioned in the chapter to the constellation Virgo. The "lines" connecting the stars differ in interpretation; some enclose her "belly", other depictions do not. The freeware astronomy program Stellarium (free download; all operating systems) depicts the constellation with the "belly" shown as a slight askew square, but "enclosed". So, as one runs the program they need to identify Virgo, and then follow her the whole year to see when she is "clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet" (if you download and run it, here is a spoiler alert- it's every September and the days vary from year to year). So, now we need to look for the 12 stars that "crown" her. The constellation Leo usually appears above her, but has only nine stars. But this year on the 23rd there are three planets visible (in the program) and make up 12 stars, and they are called "visiting stars". Amazing, right? It gets even better!
The planet Jupiter appears in her belly and stays there for a little over nine months!! Jupiter is identified as the king planet, and hence represents our Lord. But not really- He already ascended to be with the Father at Pentecost (30-33 AD), so what is being "birthed" in the sign is being interpreted as His body- The Church!!! After birth, the child, or church, is "caught up" ἁρπάζω (Greek pronunciation- Harpazo), to God to be united with our Lord.
One would think that if this sign was so significant then anyone (signs are usually for unbelievers!) would be able to see it. Not so, it is only visible in the software program- something the enthusiasts explain away by saying God knew that knowledge would increase in the end times, and that He knew people would have computers, etc,.
I'm really not being fair to a offer a complete rendition of all the details and nuances of this sign as explained by its enthusiasts, so let me more gentle and Christlike in my disposition- I am praying that the thousands of people who are convinced that they are on their way to meet the Lord are not disappointed to the point of falling away. I'm reminded of the parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful servants where some mistreat fellow servants because they feel the Master has delayed His return.
Oh, did I mention? After they are "out of here" the tribulation would begin and then God turns His attention to "the Jews".
There is so much wrong with this belief system that it is wearisome to one's spirit. The pre-tribulation rapture belief is so loved that there is no consideration paid as to its corrosive by product- no regard for how Israel, God's first-born, will be given succor and support during the coming holocaust at the hands of the rage of Islam. Paul the Apostle wrote to the saints at Rome not to be "boastful" with regard to the Jews- one line in chapter 11 of the book of Romans is significant - "I say then, they did not stumble so that they fell, did they? May it never be! But by their trespass, salvation has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy." (Romans 11:11)
There has never been a time where the Jews have been jealous of the Gentile's salvation. Ever! They persecuted the church during the church' birth pangs, but ever since then the persecution has gone the other way. And that does not provoke a people to be jealous of their tormentor's Savior. So, what drives this jealousy? It has to be the church laying down her life to save God's first-born, our elder brother.
More on this mystery soon...