I remember when the “Terminator” decided to make his last comeback with “End of Days” back in 1999. By flipping the numbers 666 upside down and adding a “1” we were told that the end of days was in 1999.  Hmmmm….?  Why add a “1”?   Why flip them upside down? Not sure,  it was the mathematical equivalent of “redrum’s” mirror scene from The Shining.   The End of Days movie was as silly in its premise as it was in its execution. This was not a highpoint in Arnold’s career. This week an equally ridiculous notion has been raised:  Harold Camping predicts May 21st as Judgment Day.

Harold has calculated the rapture before on Sept. 6, 1994 -using some creative accounting and Bible study gymnastics. He wants us to ignore his previous failure.   His technique for calculating May 21, 2011 as Doomsday is a cross between the movie Beautiful Mind and the tv show Numb3rs. I’d say his calculations are about as real as Russell Crowe’s friends in the movie.  (P.S.  At the end of the movie, we find out Russell’s friends were figments of his imagination.)

I believe in the rapture. I think it is real and literal. I think the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus will come and “catch up” his followers before a seven year period of difficulty on earth. The word rapture comes from a Latin word rapturo which can be found in

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Ironically Paul wrote this to a group of friends who had several false teachers predicting Christ’s return. These false teachers were Gnostics who claimed a secret knowledge about the rapture.  These false, self-proclaimed, “experts” also told the uninformed Thessalonians  that they had missed the rapture. Paul tells his new disciples in Thessalonica that there is no secret Bible code, no hidden knowledge, or mathematical formula.

Paul says anyone can recognize when the rapture happens because Christ will come and raise up the bodies of those who died first. Paul says we will see this happen before others are caught up in the air. Paul tells Christ followers that this is a message of hope, not fear. It is the promise that when we die, we will be raised in a real, literal, physical body. The rapture is the moment Christ takes our old bodies and fully restores them into new eternal bodies without cancer, ailments, or problems.

Paul even gives us a sequence, “The dead in Christ will rise first.” Before you get freaked out with images of horror flicks, realize what Paul is saying.  Those who have already died and lived during the time between Christ’s physical resurrection and now will go first. What does that mean? They will have their bodies (currently sitting in coffins, mausoleums,  or dust scattered on the earth) reformed, refashioned, and restored.    This will be a moment of unparalleled power.   Just as Christ demonstrated his power over death 2000 years ago with physical evidence for all to see, the rapture is yet another dose of evidence to an unbelieving world.

This powerful moment is a majestic sign to the entire world. It is the evidence that confirms -yet again- Jesus Christ’s claim to be able to defeat death.   The goal is not fear or panic, but belief. For those who doubted he was the Messiah, they can go back to the drawing board. For those who lacked evidence, they will be able to watch it on CNN.  For those who thought death was a natural part of the circle of life, they will see physical evidence to the contrary.

Shortly after the rapture takes place, a global leader will come on the international scene.  A combination of this universe altering event and an unprecedented global financial collapse will set up his ascent.  This global hyperinflation is spelled out in

Revelation 6:6
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.

A denarius was a day’s wage.  When this judgment strikes, it will take an entire day’s wage to buy a quart of wheat. Commodity prices will skyrocket and not be hurt by this collapse.  This global earthquake will setup a new dictator, a new monetary system, and a one world currency.

As one watches the massive debt, global printing of currency, and excessive borrowing by the US and Europe, it’s not hard to see how quickly this will happen.  Even Geithner predicted this week -in his backward, Bizarro-world logic) that not borrowing more could cause a double-dip recession. Look how quickly the stock market fell in the Great Depression. The excessive printing of money in the Weimar Republic made their currency worthless in a short window of time. Only God knows whether this global meltdown is weeks, months, or decades away, but the stage is being set as we watch history unfold.    Inflation is the the increase in the money supply. The result of inflation is rising prices. Inflation is like diluting pancake syrup as I explain in this clip.

Instead of worrying about a specific date as Doomsday, we should place our trust in Christ’s ability to raise us from the dead. We should live like He could return at any moment. We should trust His wisdom to build a strong currency, stay clear of borrowing from other nations, and be conservative about national debt. We should not place our trust in money, status, or good works.  Only Christ conquered death and holds the keys to eternity.

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