**Spoiler Warning: Don't read if you haven't finished the book yet!**
I don’t believe the rapture is a biblical idea. It was created by a guy named Darby in the nineteenth century. It basically takes completely unrelated pieces of scripture and squeezes them together in random ways until it produces this bizarre (almost magical) scenario. It was then popularized in the seventies by a guy named Hal Lindsey and brought to superstardom by La Haye and Jenkins fifteen years ago in their Left Behind franchise. So it belongs neither to the historic church, her doctrines or holy scripture.
Yet two thirds of the way through my novel an event takes place that looks a lot like Darby’s idea of a rapture. People around the globe disappear in a flash and some are left behind. In the novel, I kept it intentionally ambivalent, but here I want to be perfectly clear: I do not believe that this will happen in reality. As I said above, there is nothing in the Bible or 2000 years of church doctrine to reasonably support it.
Part of my use of this as a plot device is satirical. Many of those that are left behind (Pastor Jack and Amos) are those who are most certain of their own righteousness. And many of those taken (Pastor Dennis and Pat) are those that seem the most sinful (or unlikable). It’s a way of turning the tables on modern day pharisees who pray, “Thank you God that I’m not like that sinner over there.”
My other goal is to heighten reality. I took something that many Christians wrestle with: ‘What is God up to/Why isn’t God acting/Where is God when I suffer?’ and intensified it in order to wrestle with the question: What should faithful people do when God doesn’t make sense?
In the end, the rapture in my novel isn’t really about God, or the future or any concept of the end times. Instead, it is about reflecting on the nature of humans, particularly religious humans, in times of great stress.
It is advent season, and so it is a good time to confess: I believe Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. I pray for God’s Kingdom to come, and that I will be ready when it does. I also believe, however, that the details of how and when this will happen are not for us to know. I have no idea what the return of the Lord will look like - but neither does Darby, Lindsey or La Haye.