The End Times Part I: The Millennium, Tribulation, and Rapture

I still remember the kitchen table debates, with charts spread out, Bibles open, and concordances on hand. Would the rapture happen before the tribulation, or during it, or after it? What role would the United States play in the end times? What area of the world would the antichrist be from? Could he possibly be already around – who? These answers to these questions seemed pressing, crucial, important, though in retrospect I’m not entirely sure why.

Now if there’s anything Christians disagree on, it’s how the world will end. There are so many different views that denominations and churches have split over the issue. The problem is that knowledge of the end times is largely based on some Old Testament prophets, some things Jesus said, and the book of Revelation. Let’s just say that when taken together, those sources are anything but clear. It’s really no wonder Christians have so many different views on it!

In this brief overview, we’ll start with the Millenium and move on to the Tribulation and the Rapture.

The Millennium

Essentially all Christians believe that at some point in the future Christ will return again (the “second coming”), and that there will be a judgement of some sort, and that eventually this earth will end and all believers will be in heaven. The devil, however, is in the details.

First off, there’s this thing called the Millennium. The Millennium is the 1,000 year golden age on earth, either ruled by Christ himself or at least by Christian ethics and Christian governments, at the end of which will be the final judgement. It is sometimes referred to as the “millennial kingdom.”

However, Christians disagree on exactly when the Millenium will occur and what it will be like. They are divided into three main groups on this issue: Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism. Premillenialists believe that Christ’s second coming will occur before the millennium. Postmillennialists believe that Christ’s second coming will come after the millennium. Finally, Amillennialists believe that the millennium is figurative and that we are already living in it. Here is a graph to illustrate the differences (ignore the fact that the graph mentions two kinds of Premillennialism):

One big division here is over the “Tribulation.” Premillennialists believe that the world will get worse and worse until the Tribulation comes, after which the Millenium, in which Christ will literally rule on earth, will occur. Postmillennialists believe that Christians are supposed to make the world better and better, converting more and more souls and improving morality and society in general, until they bring on the millennium, a golden age of Christian ethics, after which Christ will return. Amillennialists believe that we are already living in the (figurative) millennium, which is already (figuratively) ruled by Christ from heaven.

This doesn’t automatically mean that Postmillennialists and Amillennialists don’t believe in the existence of a Tribulation – many are preterists, meaning that they believe the Tribulation occurred the time of Nero and when the temple was destroyed. It does mean that only Premillennialists see a Tribulation coming in the future.

By way of definition, the Tribulation, which I will explain in more detail in a later post, is a time of horrible persecution of Christians and judgments on humankind, including disease, famine, war, and natural disasters. The Tribulation is dominated by the rule of the Antichrist, who is indwelt by Satan himself.

I was personally raised a Premillennialist. I didn’t even realize there were Postmillennialists or Amillennialists until I reached high school and ran into some through some different homeschooling functions. I had honestly thought that all Christians were Premillennialist. One person I met was a preterist, which threw me for a loop because I had never heard of such a thing.

The Tribulation and Rapture

Okay, so now let’s narrow it down to just Premillennialists. Premillennialists all believe that the world will get worse until the Tribulation begins, that believers will at some point be “raptured” into heaven, and that Christ will return at the end of the Tribulation to be victorious in the battle of Armageddon, which will be followed by the thousand year reign of Christ on earth, and finally, a final judgement of Satan, the destruction of the old heaven and old earth, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.

The main divide within Premillennialists is over the timing of the rapture. In the rapture, all Christians will suddenly disappear from earth and be transported instantly to heaven. Their bodies will disappear but their clothes will be left behind; any cars they are driving will crash, and so on. The raptured believers will not experience any of this chaos, though, for they will be taken straight up to heaven in an instant.

There are three camps on the timing of the rapture: Pretribulation, Midtribulation, and Postribulation. As you might guess, the question is whether believers will be raptured before, during, or after the tribulation. Here’s a graph:

I was raised to believe in a Pretribulation rapture. When I found out that some people who believed in a Midtribulationist or Postribulationist rapture, I was appalled. The idea that believers would have to live through the Tribulation horrified me. I was very glad that, as I firmly believed, I would be raptured before the Tribulation.

The first big question when ascertaining Christians’ belief about the end times, then, is whether they are Premillennialist, Postmillennialist, or Amillennialist. If they are Premillennialist, the next question is whether they believe in a Pretribulation rapture, a Midtribulation rapture, or a Postribulation rapture. And at the very least, you now have at least some understanding of what these terms mean.

Note: Feel free to add to this, mentioning ideas I may have missed or whatnot based on your own experiences and knowledge. This whole eschatology thing is complex I don’t think anyone can have it all figured out, least of all me! (This is the kind of thing Christian theologians spend their entire lives arguing about, after all!)

So there you have it. The Millennium, Tribulation, and Rapture. That’s Part I. Here is the series in total: 

Part I – The Millennium, Tribulation, and Rapture

Part II – Social Justice, Dominionism, and the Culture Wars

Part III – Dispensationalism

Part IV – The Tribulation in Detail

Part V – Signs, Prophesies, and Current Events

Part VI: Rapture Anxiety

Part VII: Dispensational Premillennialism’s Recent Origins

  • http://loreleitracy.etsy.com LoreleiHI

    Ah, those wonderful movies, that I saw when I was around 8 years old… A Thief in the Night… So. Many. Nightmares. At the time the church we went to was meeting in a movie theatre, so we saw the entire series (there are 4) on the big screen.

    I still get shivers when the song I Wish We’d All Been Ready pops in my head.

    • Libby Anne

      I watched A Thief in the Night too! And yes. It freaked me out too. *shivers*

      • denise

        I remember those too – even at the time, I remember thinking, how come it wasn’t ok for me to watch The Mummy vs. Dracula, but it WAS ok for me to watch little girls get guillotined? Ugh, scare tactics!!

        Thanks for a great post, Libby Anne – well I remember the ‘getting to know you’ sessions at church camp where we were told to ask our fellow campers, “Pre-trib or post-trib?” Of course we were all pre-trib, so I don’t know why they bothered other than to just let us affirm that we were all ‘in the club.’

        Hey, Libby Anne, that’s another idea for a post you could do sometime if you have experience with it, church camp!!

      • http://whoireallyaminside.blog.com/ Jenn

        I remember those two. They were shown at school in the chapel. That’s where I got most of my ideas about the rapture since it was never very clear what the timeline was. I suspect many of the people in our church had different ideas about the tribulation and the rapture.

    • charlesbartley

      My shudders come from Larry Norman’s “I wish we’d all been ready” even more than from the movie. Even as a Pre-triber that song just gave me the heeby-geebies.
      Charles

  • Rabidtreeweasel

    Thank you for doing this! I swear, we were raised in the same church. I’ve been looking for an analysis of rapture belief from a former Christian for some time. When I was a Christian, I firmly believed in all the things my parents told me we firmly believed. Some things I questioned, but End Times theology was so confusing that I never even knew what questions to ask. It has also been the hardest part of my value system to untangle since it had colored my support of the Republican party for so much of my youth. Even now as a liberal I still have remind myself to question whether I feel strongly about a candidate based on their merits or on whether I have a subconscious fear that they will take over the world. I have wondered for awhile if other former Christians have similar blind spots.

  • http://www.safefromshame.com Colleen

    I had no idea that there were so many different interpretations! I was also raised to believe in (checks graphs) pretribulation dispensational premillennium.

    Even years after leaving the church, I still didn’t know that anyone that believed in the second coming of Jesus interpreted things any differently. It makes me want to read up on eschatology now.

  • jemand

    We were posttribulationists. I had plans, where would I run with my siblings, as the oldest, I figured my parents would maybe be able to stall the authorities long enough for me to get the rest of us gone.

    We’d hide until we were finally caught and tortured until we either died or recanted faith and went to hell.

    I would regularly cause myself minor amounts of various kinds of pain in order to “prepare” myself for withstanding said torture…

    But I was thankful at least that I didn’t believe in an eternal hell, we were anihilationists, which was a small mercy because some people in my family I was certain were going to be damned. :(

    • Jenny C

      I was raised Postmillenial, although we never used this term as Seventh Day Adventists. Is that how you were raised, jemand?

      • Jenny C

        Oops, meant posttribulational!

      • jemand

        Yup, ex SDA here lol.

    • ARB

      I grew up Postribulationist as well and my parents (who loved the Terminator movies) took on a sort of Sarah Connor approach to training us for the end of days. Whenever we’d complain about having to walk to school in freezing rain it’d be “what are you gonna do when we’re hiding in the woods somewhere!”

  • http://potatoesarenotvegetables.blogspot.com Ashton

    Libby, not all premillenialists believe in the Rapture. I grew up Seventh-day Adventist, like Jenny C above, and they are quite against the idea of the rapture. I once had to write a paper on why it couldn’t be true, using logic that Adventists would never utilize on their own ideas. All the other elements of premillenialism were the same as what you mentioned, though.

    • Libby Anne

      Hm. I’ll have to check into that. Is it possible that Seventh Day Adventists technically believed in a postribulation rapture? Because basically, a postribulation rapture is nothing more than the believers still there after the Tribulation being swept off to join Christ’s forces in fighting Armageddon.

      Actually, I just looked at the first graph and I think that’s what’s going on. The first point of it shows the “postribulational premillenialism,” it just doesn’t use the word “rapture.” In other words, when you’re postribulational, whether there’s a rapture of not doesn’t really matter, because you’re there through the whole thing. But they still call it postribulational to differentiate it, maybe?

      I told you I couldn’t capture all the complexity in one post! :-P

      • jemand

        Yeah, as an SDA, we didn’t really use the word “rapture” much, except when preaching against that wicked deception of the “secret rapture” (pretrib rapture) but if you pushed, you could basically get an assent that yeah, the saints were “caught up to the sky” or whatever language is typically used to refer to the rapture meant immediately at the second coming.

    • Libby Anne

      I looked it up, and this article goes into detail on Seventh Day Adventist belief.

  • amavra

    I suppose I was raised preterist – we didn’t use words like “tribulation”, “millennium” or “rapture” though. I grew up in the Church of Christ.

    I was taught that judgement day would come instantly and without warning, that the dead would be judged first (but we wouldn’t see it because their souls were already awaiting judgement in Hades -Abraham’s Bosom via the Rich man and Lazarus parable).

    There was no fanfare, no build up. One minute we’d be alive doing mundane things and the next minute we’d be taken before the throne of judgment, at an apparently utterly arbitrary time determined by God the Father alone.

    We believed the passages on the millennium ruled by Christ were figurative for the eternal kingdom in Heaven. We also believed that passages about tribulation were referring to Nero and the like, but also all instances of persecution the faithful would suffer and the continued decay of the earth.

    My mom grew up in a church that taught like yours, and she had nightmares about the rapture for years. She never let us learn about that doctrine because of how harmful she thought it was – and also by that time she didn’t believe it was true anyway.

    I am always intrigued by what parts of these prophecies people take literally and which parts they take figuratively. Truly if you take them at face value it is as bizarre a story as any fantasy novel.

  • Ace of Sevens

    I grew up in a premillennialist church with an amillenialist dad. Like a surprising number of popular Christian doctrines, premillennialism isn’t really in the Bible. You get it by piecing together verses from three books that aren’t even talking about the same thing. God was so unclear, it apparently took almost 1700 years for Christians to figure out what he meant.

    • Ace of Sevens

      Actually, about 1800 years for dispensational premillennialism, which seems to be the popular version.

      • KG

        I was brought up in the sort of milk-and-water Christianity common in Britain, in the 1960s, and as far as I recall never heard any of these ideas other than the “Second Coming” – and then in quite vague terms – mentioned in church, Sunday school, or day school (there’s still some officially-mandated Christian indoctrination in what Americans would call public schools in Britain, but in the majority of schools, it’s of a pretty mild type). My impression is that the “Rapture”, in particular, insofar as it is known at all, is a recent American import – I think it would still provoke eye-rolling and sniggers in most British churches, although since I never attend, I could be out of date here.

      • Steve

        @KG
        Having a state church does wonders to protect against such kooky fringe beliefs

      • KG

        No, I really don’t think a state church has much to do with it, although I know it’s a belief that’s popular in the USA, in different forms, among both atheists and Christians (Rodney Stark’s “supply side” view of why the USA is the odd one out among European and European-derived cultures claims that the lack of a state church means all the churches compete harder). But France not only doesn’t have a state church, there’s a long tradition of secularism even on much of the right – and it’s one of the most atheistic countries in Europe. In the UK, there are plenty of people in other denominations, and no restrictions on them that don’t apply to the CofE. Much more important are the ban on religious advertising on TV, which I think applies over much of Europe, and even more, the welfare state: while the UK was already less religious than the USA in 1945, it’s since then that a rapid decline has set in, and the same is true across most of Europe. Socio-economic insecurity and high levels of inequality tend to keep people tied to religion (I believe Phil Zuckerman’s Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment supports this view, although I haven’t yet read it); whether the decline is reversible if these conditions disappear, I think we don’t yet know, but may well be about to find out.

      • Steve

        Well, that isn’t an either/or proposition. Both factors probably play a role.

        Zuckerman’s main examples are Denmark and Sweden. And one of his arguments is indeed that the state church turned religion into a relatively benign cultural institution. Doesn’t mean it’s the only reason though

  • HP

    I was a Southern Baptist in the early ’70s (well, I attended an SBC church, but hadn’t yet been baptized; I don’t think that means the same thing now as it meant then). Anyway, reality was different then, and all we had was The Cross and the Switchblade,* anti-papist Chick Tracts, and Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth.

    *Pretty sure this is on YouTube, but I’m not gonna provide a link.

    (Probably not on YouTube: The biggest schism I ran across among Jesus Freak evangelicals in the 70s was between fans of Jesus Christ, Superstar** and Godspell.)

    **Superstar all the way for me, man. Godspell was totally lame. And the Roman soldiers in Superstar were awesome, especially when the M1 tanks show up to torment Judas.

    Looking back, it’s astonishing to me how often eternal truths change. My grandparents’ eternal truths were different again.

    It’s very weird reading young atheists knowing that I was Jesus Freak at the height of the Jesus Freak movement. Hardcore, evangelical Christianity is, for me, always associated with love beads, long straight hair, and elephant-bell blue jeans.

    I once read somewhere — can’t remember where ;) — “this too shall pass.”

    All of the eternal Christian truths you’ve been taught are brand-new; none of them are older than I am, and I’m 48 years old. We’re living in a sci-fi novel about the multiverse; the nature of religious Reality changes at a rate just slightly greater than the rate at which people grow up. Your parents did not believe the same things they taught you, but they believe that they did.

    [/cranky old atheist rant]

    • HP

      Okay, because I am old, and an insomniac, I just discovered that Wikipedia has an article entitled Jesus freak. I’m not confabulating from misty childhood memories. It was a real thing. Where are all the other ex-Jesus Freaks in the Atheist Movement?

      Sometimes I feel like no one believes me. If it’s in Wikipedia it must be [relevant], with [citations] and everything.

      When I was nine years old, there was this 16-year-old girl at church with ironed blond hair down to her waist, who wore granny glasses, a loose paisley blouse with no brassiere, and homemade elephant bells with bandannas backsewn into the inseams, and seemed to be constantly surrounded by a golden nimbus. I was still learning about Jesus, and hadn’t yet hit puberty, but I sure knew why I wanted to go back to church each Sunday.

      • HP

        We had, like, three copies of Good News for Modern Man in my house growing up.

      • Evan Bettencourt

        Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay, I’m pretty familiar with the whole hippies-for-Jesus angle, but I’ll admit I was well into college before I learned that “Jesus Freak” was anything but a perjorative term.

  • Azuma Hazuki

    And yet Luther came this close to booting Revelation out of the Protestant Bible. I wonder how different things would be if he had?

    Much sympathy to those raised in these crackpot milieus, as well. This ought to be considered child abuse.

  • antaresrichard

    I still remember, from my days as a believer way back in the sixties, my pastor once addressing the issue: “When people ask me whether I be a premillennialist, postmillennialist, or amillennialist? I answer ‘panmillennialist’. It will all ‘pan’ out in the end.”

  • Anders

    First of all, essentially all Christians believe that at some point in the future Christ will return again (the “second coming”), and that there will be a judgement of some sort, and that eventually this earth will end and all believers will be in heaven.

    I’d dispute that, actually. In Sweden the prevailing opinion seems to be that the “Kingdom is inside you”. That Christ opened the way for us to create heaven on this earth.

    • Libby Anne

      This is a good point. Amillenialists, and also Postmillenialists, generally believe on building Christ’s kingdom in the here and now, both within themselves and on earth. The end times matters less to them. So I guess my question is, do these Swedish Christians believe that Christ will never return? Because I’ve never heard of Christians believing that. Generally, ones like you’re describing believe that Christ will return someday, but that when and how is irrelevant, and there’s more focus on their everyday life on this earth than on how this earth will end, or why. I’d be interested to know if there ARE Christians who don’t believe Christ will come again, ever, but rather that the earth will continue eternally.

      • KG

        It looks like you’d find plenty in the UK – although I haven’t seen the full results of the survey referred to in this press release from The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason, since only 1/3 of professed Christians believe in a physical resurrection, and only 1/2 regard Jesus as the son of God.

      • KG

        Though it’s worth just noting that belief that the Earth will be eternal would contradict current science.

      • Anders

        I’d have to check with my sources, but I think most of them would just cherrypick the parts they want to be true. And they don’t want to think about the less savory parts of the Bible. Revelations definitely qualify there…

  • anthonyallen

    Although I was raised in a catholic environment, I stopped paying attention to religious teaching when I was old to start thinking for myself (about age 5). So, I really have no idea which type of christian I was supposed to have been. I actually had to look up the word premillennialism, in fact.

    This is an interesting read, though, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

    • anthonyallen

      Gah.

      … old enough to start thinking

  • RickR

    #2-

    I’ve been looking for an analysis of rapture belief from a former Christian for some time.

    Fred’s not a former christian, but has been ripping apart the Left Behind novels (and their loathsome theology) for going on 9 years now.

    Start here-

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2011/08/07/left-behind-index-i-posts-1-50/

  • John Morales

    [meta]

    Libby, I fail to find the attribution to the source for your use of those images in this post.

    • Libby Anne

      Random pictures on the internet. :-P You’re right, I should have an attribution. I’ll make it so that when you click the image, it takes you to the source, k? I’ll do that now. Sorry about that!

      • John Morales

        Your scrupulousness does you credit.

      • http://pretendbiologist.blogspot.com Travis

        To be fair even that is not enough, you need permission of the copyright holder. Crediting the source is not enough.

        In this case it pretty much is. The image is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license and attribution is all that is necessary (and you have to share it under the same license).

  • msironen

    I’m wondering if there is there a correlation between adherence to certain millennial teaching and the near certain belief that the Rapture/Second coming will occur in the adherents lifetime?

    Personally that’s the most counter intuitive / explanation-demanding thing about the whole Rapture phenomenon to me. I’m not talking about any particular failed prophets like Harold Camping here; instead to me it seems there is, and more importantly has been whole generations of failed prophets who, without setting a specific date nevertheless adamantly believe the Rapture would happen in their lifetime (and what better evidence of this happening currently than the Rapture Ready board).

    The fact that this belief has always failed as spectacularly as any specific prophesy seems to deter the regular Rapture believers to no effect at all. It seems obvious to me that they believe it because they want it to happen during their lifetime, but why would they want that aside from some petty validation and gratification?

    • Steve

      The apostles believed that Jesus would return within their lifetimes. It’s been “any day now” for 2000 years

    • Orakio

      Remember, the functional belief is that this entire life is nothing but a test to see if you deserve to live forever in the lap of everything good – and there is precious little ‘good’ in this life. Rapture means you get to go to Heaven without the furhter suffering of life and death. Meanwhile, suicides go to Hell. Given the existence of a Heaven and a Rapture to get there – Why wouldn’t you want it to happen right now?

    • http://loreleitracy.etsy.com LoreleiHI

      This is where the belief in the ‘Wandering Jew’ came about.

      You see, Jesus said that he would come back before all who were listening were dead. Obviously, the Second Coming did not happen within 70 years of that point. Therefore, God must have made one of the Jews present functionally immortal until the 2nd Coming, so that Jesus is not made a liar (lieing is a sin, remember). And so that the Bible isn’t proved wrong before it was written, lol.

      Lovely little bit of superstition, isn’t it?

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    I was pre-trib, pre-millenial, and it terrified me cause of my transgenderism and bisexuality that God would see through the veneer of myself closeting myself and judge me cause I still suffered the sin of being attracted to males and wanting to be a woman.

    Woke up many nights when it was silent, thinking my family got raptured, to have to sneak down the hall to peek in on my sister to see if she was still in her bed. It was nightmarish and scary, and I hated it. It’s abusive to teach a child something like that, in my opinion…

    • kisekileia

      Yeah. I’m a liberal Christian, so I obviously don’t agree with the idea that raising children in a religion is generally child abuse–but I think there’s a damn good argument to be made that teaching kids about hell is abusive, given the effects it’s had on me and many other people.

  • Rod

    Growing up in the 50s and 60 and attending, to some extent, the United Church of Canada, I was quite unaware of this philosophy. It continues to astonish me how much time, paper, ink, electrons and brainpower (well, maybe not brainpower) goes into this bizarre obsession.
    What drives these people?
    It remains a mystery to me….

  • Martin

    Did no one do a meta analysis? If so many eschatologies are “valid” should any be trusted? And hence, why should the authors of the biblical books be considered reliable?

  • sceptinurse

    I didn’t get into religion (Baptist General Conference when I did) but the stand was that would be a pre-trib rapture. Maybe because I was older I found the whole concept interesting instead of terrifying. I used to read every fiction book that came out about. I always found it fascinating to see how different people interpreted the imagery in Revelation.

    That said I did get creeped out by the Larry Norman song “I wish we’d all been ready”.

  • slc1

    As a total outsider here, I find this entire discussion off the wall. There is an implicit assumption in all of these claims, namely that the earth is the only planet in the entire universe having intelligent life. I recall a whackjob calling himself Jon S, who used to comment on Jason Rosenhouse’s blog, who maintained that, indeed, the earth is the only planet in the entire universe having life of any kind!

    Remembering that the authors of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures had not the faintest conception of the existence of other stars then the Sun, not to mention other planets circling those stars, such an assumption may have made some sense at that time. Such an assumption today, given the ubiquity of other planets in our galaxy, not to mention other galaxies makes absolutely no sense whatever.

  • Art

    Sounds to me like they have constructed a castle in the sky and can’t agree on the styling and details they imagine they can see when contemplating the entirely imaginary construct when they picture it in their minds. With 100% confidence and blind faith taken as a proof of being ‘chosen’ and the Bible taken as the literal word of God the notional presentation within their own mind is conflated with the ‘word of the lord’ the details take on great significance.

    It is the nature of religions to agree on broad points. Particularly when faced with a common threat. But when they start discussing details and the finer points fail to line up things get ugly. It is also true that outside an immediate common outside threat believers tend to be hardest on the heretics closest to their position. Internecine conflicts tend to be bloody brother-versus-brother affairs.

    Catholics versus protestants, Shea versus Sunnis, tribe versus tribe slitting throats and laying waste to the heretics. Pre versus post millennialist arguments are just a particular subset of disagreement over who has/has not failed to transmit “God’s word” with fidelity.

    But it is also still an argument over the details of a fictional castle that exists only in the human imagination. A three-dimensional projection of an idea left over from an early iron age storytelling culture that lands on the inside of the true believers skulls.

  • kisekileia

    Libby, this is really lucid and well-written, and fills in the gaps of even my knowledge (and I’m an ex-evangelical with a theology-ish degree, albeit from a Catholic institution), but I think definitions of “tribulation” and “rapture” would be very helpful for readers without an evangelical background.

  • grumpyoldfart

    It always makes me laugh to think of them sitting around the kitchen table with their charts and bibles, desperately trying to interpret a fairytale as if it was the truth, while their leaders are working on a completely different problem – trying to figure out how they can skim another $100,000 from the collection plate without arousing the suspicions of the tax department.

    • John Morales

      Sardonic laughter, I presume.

      • grumpyoldfart

        Sardonic laughter, I presume.

        Yep, I scoff at their stupidity. I’m thinking of the Camping fools, who last year warned us about the rapture, and now they’re flat broke, while Camping and his family are lounging about counting their millions.

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  • Godlesspanther

    A Baskin-Robbins selection of eschatologies! Although, in this case, one is not allowed to get a double or a triple containing more than one flavor.
    I have read the accounts of those who had watched A Thief in the Night as children and found it to be quite frightening and disturbing. I was 8 in ’72 when the movie was made. Never saw it or even heard of it until after investigating such things on the internet. I watched portions of it on Youtube and found it to be just campy corny Christian propaganda. Never having been religious I doubt that it would have had much impact on me when I was 8 had I seen it. I had never heard of the rapture until I was well into adulthood so the movie would not have made any sense to me. It is very culture-specific to the point that it does not translate into the mainstream culture. Although, for some reason, the first Left Behind movie did a much better job of getting mainstream attention. Why? I’m not sure. However, if I were to speculate, I would say that it had more to do with the general upsurge in the fundamentalist population as well as the attention that they were getting than it has to do with the quality or message of the two movies. Left Behind was every bit as corny as A Thief in the Night.

  • john

    since its already been a couple thousand years.. what if its another couple thousand years and humans are living on other planets by then? its entirely feasable and probable. will they be exempt from the rapture and/or tribulation?