On the CA 'breakaway religious sect' waiting for the Rapture

Some major news this weekend was of the authorities' frantic search for 13 people who left behind letters indicating were going to seclude themselves somewhere and wait for the Rapture.

"Authorities in southern California searched a wide area early today after a breakaway religious sect of 13 people left behind letters indicating they were awaiting an apocalyptic event and would soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven.Authorities in southern California searched a wide area early today after a breakaway religious sect of 13 people left behind letters indicating they were awaiting an apocalyptic event and would soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven. ... The group left behind mobile phones, ID, property deeds and letters indicating they were awaiting "the Rapture". "

Actions like these bring up remembrances of horrific endings to previous cults where the leaders had taken people to secluded places and then they all committed suicide. Charismatic religious leader Jim Jones led his people down to Guyana and in the worst mass suicide in the world, 900 people drank cyanide laced Kool-Aid. It was the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001, and one where the only Congressman died in the line of duty.  Jones had been a Methodist, even becoming a student pastor. Eventually Jones started his own church, naming it Peoples Temple Christian Church Full Gospel. In later biographies, Jones was said to be "obsessed with religion."

David Koresh by the age of 11, he had memorized the entire New Testament, and claimed to have become a born-again Christian in the Southern Baptist Church. He soon joined his mother's church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Somewhere he off the rails, eventually believing himself to be a final prophet and buying a property, turning it into a compound called "Ranch Apocalypse." There emerged allegations of child molestation. An apocalypse did occur there when the FBI closed in, surrounded it and there was a shoot-out and subsequent fire. 71 people died in the fire and 17 of those were underage children.

Marshall Applewhite suffered a near-death experience and after recovering, came to believe that he and his nurse, Bonnie Nettles, were "the Two", that is, the two witnesses spoken of in Book of Revelation 11:3 in the Bible. He started a UFO cult that combined Christian doctrine (particularly the ideas of salvation and apocalypse) with the concept of evolutionary advancement and elements of science fiction, particularly travel to other worlds and dimensions. Heaven's Gate members believed that the planet Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, renewed, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately. His cult and 39 people perished under Applewhite's message of deception.

So when Reyna Marisol Chicas and her group left good-bye letters, and the remaining friends and family members knew there were small children with them, they became concerned. She had been attending a 'regular congregation' church and was known as devout but hardly fanatic. She was said to become increasingly religious after she separated from her husband four years ago.

I am so happy the group was found safe and that the children are unharmed. I am less than thrilled with the media depictions of Christians who focus on the full bible, including the end times events, but I can hardly blame them. Satan has done a good job perverting it and putting forward deluded people who take it to twisted ends. And of course the media will focus on these twisted ends and not the truth.

ABC News posted a tip sheet at the end of their article,  'How cults operate'
"What they do is convince people that life here is not any good anymore, that we've become inhumane or whatever the trick may be to convince people that life is not what it should be," Garrett said. "So as a result we're going to move on, were gonna be together in the afterlife, as this world, the material world disintegrates."

Life on earth is not good, it is filled with sin, it is hard, and it is a race we must endure. Paul used that word more than once- in Hebrews 12:1, 1 Corinthians 4:12; and 2 Timothy 4:5. So did Peter, in 1 Peter 2:20. Life is not as it should be, and it hasn't been since the garden. But that is not a trick, it is simply Truth. However, we can't pull up stakes and spiritually navel-gaze while we wait for Jesus. We are His Light which shines in us, and we must do all we can do to share that Light with all who are downtrodden and lost. Acting out in cultish ways only confirms to the lost that Jesus is not for them.

I also understand that secular people think the end time events are strange and anyone who speaks of them is strange too. I mean, Revelation says there will be demon-locusts biting people who want to die but can't, for five months. Hailstones weighing 100 pounds. Mass disappearances in a twinkling of an eye. Angels who fly around the world speaking of the Gospel. A one-world dictator who will be possessed by satan and bring destruction on us all. Yes. Those are weird things. But they are true.

What I am less than thrilled about is the conduct of the people involved in this event. Without the full fleshing out of the revealed facts yet, and there will be more as the days go on, the woman who apparently sparked the left-behind letters also left deeds to property and needed possessions. The bible tells us not to do that.

"...let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). I can understand being despondent over a divorce, lonely, or adrift in a career. But we are told to be "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith," (Hebrews 12:2). We must endure, "Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble," (Hebrews 12:12). Paul did not write that we should abandon the race, sit down on the sidelines, and wait for the end. The end will come whether we are holed up in a compound or whether we are sharing His light in the lost world by living as an example of compassion and love, and calmness and peace. The question is, when the end does come, will we be able to stand? Will He say, "Well done good and faithful servant"? Or will He say, 'You sat down a quarter mile from the end of the race...?


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