But first . . .

GIFT RECEIPTS

Gary Diehl: ‘My son works for a large retail chain that just loves to issue ‘gift receipts’ with every purchase. Since they do not have the price on them you can give them along with the gift. This limits the chances of the receiver finding out exactly what you spent if an exchange is required. How sweet. The bad news is, if the price has dropped since they purchased the gift (not uncommon on some items), the store only credits you the new lower price. After all, you don’t know what they originally paid. I suggest giving the actual receipt in a sealed envelope. Gift receipts are basically a scam disguised as a service.’

And now . . .

RAPTURE

Tuesday, I reprinted most of Bill Moyers’ recent speech, which touched upon, among other things, the Rapture Index.

In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index. That’s right – the rapture index.

‘Google it,’ Moyers advised, ‘and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the twelve volumes of the left-behind series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious right warrior, Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.’

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre . . . : once Israel has occupied the rest of its ‘biblical lands,’ legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

Believers are actually encouraged by war, famine and the like, because it increases the likelihood that the rapture is close at hand.

When Moyers gave his speech, the Rapture Index stood at 144.

To put that into context:

Rapture Index of 85 or lower: Slow prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 85 to 110: Moderate prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 110 to 145: Heavy prophetic activity
Rapture Index above 145: Fasten your seat belts

Three weeks later, by December 20, it had climbed to 153 – miles ahead of the record low 57 registered December 12, 1993, and not far off its all-time high of 182 reached September 24, 2001.

And that 153 reading was before the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. Earthquakes are #37 on the list of 45 categories that go into calculating the rapture index. To wit:

37. Earthquakes
(Mark 13:8) God used earthquakes to show his disapproval with man.
. . . look for more earthquake activity as the return of Christ draws near.

On Monday, with the dimensions of the disaster just beginning to be known, the index was bumped up to 155. My guess is that as the horrifying proportions of the tragedy sink in, the next revision of the index might take it even higher. But maybe not: both earthquakes and floods are already at ‘5,’ which seems to be as high as any of the 45 individual components of the Index go.

All this is laid out clearly here. As is this simple explanation of the Index:

The Rapture Index has two functions: one is to factor together a number of related end time components into a cohesive indicator, and the other is to standardize those components to eliminate the wide variance that currently exists with prophecy reporting.

The Rapture Index is by no means meant to predict the rapture, however, the index is designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture.

You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we’re moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.

The site‘s wide-ranging and congenial Frequently Asked Questions include:

Did Adam and Eve have a navel?
There is no way to verify if they actually had one or not, but I believe the most likely answer is no. A belly button is an indication that you were once attached to your mother. Because Adam was molded from spit and clay and Eve from Adam’s rib, there would be no need for them to have features that only result from natural childbirth.

Are angels real?
Angels are absolutely real . . .

All of this may sound a little silly to some of you. But if it sounds inconsequential, I would strongly urge you to go back and read Bill Moyers’ speech.

Happy New Year. May it be anything short of rapturous.

 

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