The blogosphere has been abuzz recently over the Rapture. The cause of the sometimes scathing commentary is a starkly simple, unadorned website called YouveBeenLeftBehind.com.
Imagine this. Thirty-three percent of the world's population, some two billion Christians¹, evaporate instantly. Checked out. Gone. Disappeared. Vanished. This Grand Exit is referred to as the 'Rapture of the Church.'
The 'Rapture' is described this way in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:
We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
Christians who are alive at the time of Jesus' return will in some fashion be taken from the earth to meet Christ as He descends from heaven and gathers believers to Himself. Views differ on when and how the Rapture will occur. But the controversial You've Been Left Behind website causing the buzz is designed for Christians who believe that those left behind after the Rapture will still have the opportunity to trust in Christ. Christians can pay a fee to set up an account through the website that will automatically deliver one last 'pre-written' email to their unsaved friends and family, explaining why they've gone missing and urging them to believe in Jesus.
How, you might ask, will the emails be delivered if all the Christians who maintain the You've Been Left Behind site have been raptured themselves? According to the YBLB website - no problem:
We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the "Rapture" of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system. YBLB doesn't really address the distinct possibility that the whole infrastructure of society - including the Internet - will probably collapse if something like two billion people fail to show up for work on the same day...
But in any case, love it or hate it, this unusual website can serve as springboard for spiritual conversation with your unsaved friends. Instead of laying the groundwork to send an email after you disappear, take the time now to talk with your friends about Jesus. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Ask your friends if they've heard about this unusual website, You've Been Left Behind.
Do you think it sounds wacko? The brainchild of a total nut-job?
What do you believe about the 'end of the world'? Listen, then share what you believe from the Bible.
Check out 2 Peter 3:10-14 Would you be freaked out if hundreds of millions of people just vanished from the earth one day? How do think you'd react?
Ask your friends if they realize that Jesus taught that he would return someday? What do they believe about that? Listen, then share from Matthew 24:42-44. For help explaining this, check out the Soul Fuel article on the Return of Christ.
Jesus made it clear that no one knows the day or the hour of his return. But he commands us to live in such a way that we'll be ready. Are you?
Jane Dratz works for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.