May 22 "Left Behind" parties all the rage

This is out of Salem, Mass. today -

"It’s Sunday, May 22, 2011: Do you know where your soul is?"

"If it remains here in the mortal realm, you’re invited to a “Left Behind” party. The Gathering, a non-denominational Christian church in Salem, is planning the party for anyone who’s still around after the rapture that’s been predicted by Harold Camping, president of the Family Radio network based in Oakland, Calif. A handful of evangelical Christian churches, and Camping’s religious broadcasting network, say that true believers will be with God after Judgment Day comes on Saturday, May 21, while the rest of humanity will suffer in the ruined destroyed world that remains, until the world ends on Oct. 21. The Left Behind party in Salem is based on two ideas: First, that Saturday isn’t the end of days, and second, that God isn’t going to take a small population to heaven and exclude the rest. “We want to present just the opposite view, that God doesn’t want to leave anyone behind,” said Pastor Phil Wyman of The Gathering. Wyman said the idea of some people being raptured and others left behind — which Family Radio has publicized on billboards around Massachusetts and other states — doesn’t mesh with his concept of God’s love and grace."

May 21 date may or may not be the time of the rapture. That is because it is not a date, it is a number. God has a number in mind for His church. We do not know what that number is, and we do not know how close we are in reaching that number. "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in." (Romans 11:25.) The term full number in the Greek is a nautical term meaning that a ship could legally not set sail until the full number of crewmen were on board. I wrote lots more about the issue here. If you believe that it is a date, then you are obviously ignorant of the information, as Paul said.

That said, let's look at what this pseudo-pastor has said. He said in effect that God loves us all so much, we're such good guys, that He wouldn't leave anyone behind, right? Well, He does love us, that is true. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16. But wait, there's more! "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." (John 3:17-18) You must have your sins forgiven through Jesus' work on the cross before you are released from condemnation. Just being ready to accept God's love without accepting your own sins isn't going to cut it. So, yes, you will be left behind.

Everyone who espouses liberal theology like this pastor does always leaves out the most important attribute of God. Holiness. We live under the love and grace of a HOLY God. People don't like to talk about holiness these days because that would mean understanding that they themselves are not holy but are in fact sinners. Compare these two verses:
"And one called out to another and said," Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,The whole earth is full of His glory." (Isaiah 6:3)
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)
That is the fact of the matter. He is incredibly holy. No words can describe how His glory in perfection and holiness makes all our deeds, thoughts, works, and words as unclean rags. Did you know that the Hebrew translation of filthy rags are the used rags women had worn for their menstrual period? Our deeds to a Holy God are no better than a used tampon. We are THAT unclean.

Finally, this notion of partying. Jesus said that the time of the Tribulation - which begins after the real rapture - will be so bad that if He hadn't cut short the days no one would survive. Do you know how bad it will be? It will be so bad that immediately after the rapture wars will begin that kill one quarter of the world's people. (Rev 6) That is 1.7 Billion people. A war in Israel happens, in which Israel is victorious (Gog-Magog, Ez 37-28) and it takes 7 years to bury the dead, that is how many dead there will be. Birds will be gorging on dead flesh (Ez 39:17). Cities will be flattened. Water will be poisoned. "Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth." Zechariah 14:2. Does that sound like party time to you?

How about this? "The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass."

"I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."(Rev 21)

Now THAT'S a party! If God takes us all to live in New Jerusalem as Pastor Wyman thinks, then why does Jesus make a distinction about the only ones who can live there are those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life?

You can have your name written in that book, and the angels will rejoice when it is. All you have to do is accept that you are a sinner, and ask Jesus to forgive them. That's it. Do it today.


  1. It's amazing how so many people, even with the Bible available, still get it wrong.

    I wish the rapture DID come on Saturday, and that the church age would reach fulfillment. And I am slightly apprehensive about Sunday... I'm worried for those people that sold everything for this cause. And I know how ridiculous the rest of the world will think all Christians are after this particular date passes.

  2. Headline on BBC News right now:
    "US atheists plan 'Rapture' party"

  3. If you had spoken to me, you would have found out that the quotes listed in the paper are inaccurate. So thanks for being just like Harold Camping and spread falsity.

    I am not a universalist. I do believe in Judgment, but I do not believe in a pre-tribulational rapture, and the Gospels are clear that those who are "left" are like those who were judged in the days of Noah's flood - being left behind was the judgment.

    I furthermore think that it is terrible theology to declare that God is going to leave people behind. I am sure that until the last moment His hand is reached out in grace.

    So we are celebrating God's grace in the face of false prophecies of doom. Do you have a problem with that? or are you a pseudo-theologian, or a pseudo-reporter? I guess I will find out if you allow this reply.

  4. Hi Pastor Phil

    You definitely sound angry, and I understand that anger if you have been misquoted. However, the target of your ire should be the newspaper that didn't do its job, rather than the people like me who read the article in good faith and commented.

    One of your quotes from the article was: “We want to present just the opposite view, that God doesn’t want to leave anyone behind,” said Pastor Phil Wyman of The Gathering."

    Pastor, your view that God will leave people behind being terrible theology is a shame, because that is exactly what He is going to do. Daniel 9:24-7 declares the Tribulation is to punish sinners. It is very clear.

    Your view tells me that the foundational principles of why the Rapture will happen & why the Tribulation will be populated by those left-behind and atheists and pagans, (Romans 11:25, Acts 15:15-7) and Daniel 9) have escaped you. He took away the opportunity to be the Light from the Jews and built His church, That is the mystery Paul revealed in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 where Paul said We are not appointed to wrath, the Tribulation is all about wrath (Rev 6). If the church is left behind then the two verse would be in conflict. And if two verses conflict, then it is not the bible that is wrong, it is man's understanding that is wrong. YOUR understanding is wrong.

    Pastor, here is a set of verses that conflict if one disbelieves the pre-trib doctrine.

    The glory of His mercy is that if you are truly saved, then He will rapture you before the tribulation along with everyone else and you will be joyfully surprised.

    Pastor, His hand HAS reached out in grace: and all who want to partake of that grace can do so, It is called repentance. If a person rejects that opportunity, they are condemned. I am going ot ask if you believe sinners will be sent to you believe this?

  5. I am not angry. Once again you are jumping to conclusions. I am simply sharing facts which differ from your poor example of theological correction.

    How is it you can falsely call me a psuedo-pastor, and then call me angry for asking if you are a pseudo-reporter? Were you angry when you wrote the post? Perhaps I should assume that now.

    I am certainly not mad with the paper.

    I do not expect the paper to understand the subtle nuances of theology without sitting for more than an interview. They are not versed in these things. On the other hand those of us who know the scriptures are more accountable. That means you, and as a reporter of "End Times" news you need to do a better job than the above post.

    Please refer back to my first post on the term "Left Behind." The term does not jive with the Gospel references to one being taken and one being left.

    The glory of being saved is not a pre-tribulational rapture. It is Christ in you the hope of Glory, and faith in a pre-trib rapture is not by any means something one has to believe to be saved.

    I know your proof texts well. I know eschatology well. I still reject the idea that being Left Behind has to do with the rapture. It is a terrible pop theology of our times.

    Yet, now reading your response I am not sure you understand the subtle differences of eschatology.

    Hell - yes. Let me ask you - Who did Jesus speak to when warning of Hell?

  6. I hope you did take some time to review the bible verses I offered that would conflict with each other if one holds a post tribulation view. That conflict does not exist if taking a the correct view with is pre-tribulational.
    Here is the correct interpretation of the taken-left verses in Matthew 24:40-41 that you mentioned:

    Mt 24 is almost entirely about the Second Coming, not the rapture. In Mt 24:40-41 it is still the post trib judgments, not the rapture. The verse immediately preceding the taken-left verses is the Days of Noah. Jesus was saying that people will be going about their business, never having a clue that the world was about to end, just as they were in Noah's day when suddenly all this water suddenly came up. The Greek word "left" in this case is translated "sent away". Some some are taken into the kingdom and some are sent away (to judgment).

    But we don't have to go that far in to the Greek to understand it. If we erase the rapture in this passage and red it as a blank slate, we see that Jesus is making a parallel to Noah's day. That's important. Even thought the world is in a terrible state, people did this and that, marrying and given in marriage, planting and building, ignoring all the signs around them, thinking things would get back to normal. Then the flood came and 'sent them all away' to judgment, and Noah was preserved and taken through the judgment in the ark safely.

    In this way, the Great Tribulation happens and some are still refusing to understand the imminence of the end and are marrying and building etc. Others are hiding in Petra (the ark) and waiting His return, or a few are scattered thru the world believing and waiting. Then the Lord comes and some tribulation survivors are 'sent away' (to judgment) and others are preserved alive and survive the Great Tribulation to be 'kept' with the Lord forever.

    If we erase the pre-formed idea that the passages are about the rapture, it makes more sense. It's the Glory of the Lord that He gives us deeper understandings as the time approaches...I hope you gain that understanding too.

  7. One last thing Pastor Phil,

    I think that holding a left behind party is heinous. Those who WILL be left behind will suffer unimaginable judgments, Jesus said it will be a time of tribulation that the world has never seen nor never shall be again. Making light of this in your doctrinal error does much damage to the truth of the matter: the 7-Year period of tribulational judgment for those unbelievers left behind will be terrible. And you are partying. ... :(

    I'm sorry to have to say these things Phil, but perhaps you are being convicted of the Spirit in your pursuit of me, who espouses the more proper theology because it is the truth...I have offered many verses regarding the rapture doctrine which you have not responded to, only ad hominem attacks, so I ask you to please pray, ponder, and turn to the bible before responding again. Let some time go by as you be a good Berean and ask the Spirit to open your eyes into the truth of the matter.

    Just a thought

  8. Um, Phil, I looked at your "About Me." The fact that you list your Astrological Sign as Scorpio tells me a LOT.

    "Astrology is the “interpretation” of an assumed influence the stars (and planets) exert on human destiny. This is a false belief. The royal astrologers of the Babylonian court were put to shame by God’s prophet Daniel (Daniel 1:20) and were powerless to interpret the king’s dream (Daniel 2:27). God specifies astrologers as among those who will be burned as stubble in God’s judgment (Isaiah 47:13-14). Astrology as a form of divination is expressly forbidden in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). God forbade the children of Israel to worship or serve the “host of heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:19). Several times in their history, however, Israel fell into that very sin (2 Kings 17:16 is one example). Their worship of the stars brought God’s judgment each time."

    "Astrology, then, opposes biblical teaching in at least two ways: it advocates faith in something other than God, and it is a form of divination. We cannot determine God's will for our lives through horoscopes. As Christians, we are to read the Bible and pray to God in order to gain wisdom and guidance. Consulting a horoscope is a violation of God's means of communicating with His children."

    THAT is why I call you a pseudo-pastor. Your many dangerous errors of biblical doctrine, uplifting things counter to God and unfruitful behavior such as in hosting left behind parties etc tells me you need to return to the faith of our fathers and repent.

  9. Amen, Elizabeth. I found no error in your Biblical references. Keep spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, and soon enough, He will be here to wisk us away as His beautiful and redeemed bride!

  10. And the judgement begins upon those who presume to judge others outside of Good Grace - As of the days of Gideon maybe, where there is enlightenment - warring parties tend to die upon their own swords in the confusion.

  11. Uhm... not sure what to make of your commentary of Mat. 24, because it really doesn't make much sense.

    About the second coming and after the tribulation? So, your rapture is not the second coming, but must be like some PC operating system upgrade - is the rapture Jesus Coming 1.5?

    In your set of of questions about the tribulation it is apparent that your dispensational theology allows you to believe the terrible teaching that the Church Age is an end of the salvation by grace alone and those "left behind" after a rapture have to be saved by another means. This would be tantamount to temporarily rejecting salvation by grace as the only means of salvation! O foolish Galatian(s)! - as Paul would say. This is one of my main reasons for rejecting dispensational premillennial pretribulationalism. It flies in the face of the Gospel of grace. You don't have a problem wit that?

  12. LOL, your 1.5 metaphor is apt. Yes, Jesus will come in the air (1 Thess 4:17) FOR His saints in the rapture and He will come all the way to earth, His feet touching down at the Mt of Olives WITH His saints in the Second Coming when the Tribulation concludes(Zech 14:4).

    The Church Age will end. The Age of Law will resume. Don’t forget that the Age of Law was stopped short of the prophesied time by 7 years. What the Jews didn't know was that Jesus was going to take a people unto Himself to be the light to spread the Gospel. He was going to resume dealing with the Jews at the end, that last 7 years. The Jews did not know that the decree of 490 years wouldn’t be continual, but interrupted. Many people suffer from myopia in thinking that the New Testament is ALL about the Gospel believers.

    The proof texts for the Dispensation of the Age of Grace ending and the Age of Law resuming are Daniel 9:27-29 where the angel tells Daniel the 6 reasons for the Tribulation and addresses it to “your people, Daniel”, Romans 11:25 where Paul explains that the Jews have experienced a partial blindness until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and Acts 15:14-17 where Paul repeats Romans 11:25 explains that the Lord is taking a people unto Himself and “after this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent…” and many others. The mystery was that A) the Gentiles would be included into the Kingdom, as a matter of fact, they’d get there BEFORE the Jews, which is why they were jealous (Mt 21:31); and B) that the time it would take to gather the Gentiles unto Himself (the Church Age) would be longer than 2000 years.

    When you reject Dispensational epochs you delete the last 7 years that has not concluded yet in the Age of Law. That is a problem. It renders a Godly, covenant decree moot. And we know that God's promises are true, so the last 7 years has to be dealt with.

    As for saving faith: the only way to heaven is through Jesus, it has been so since Adam and will be so until the Tribulation ends. There is no other way to heaven. Just because it is the Tribulation does not mean that suddenly there is another way to be saved, there's not. I don’t know how you make that connection, but it is false. There is no other way. As a matter of fact, when the rapture happens, and the last 7 years resumes from its pause, the spiritual blindness is lifted a bit and the Jews start clamoring for their temple and for the Messiah. But they mistake the Antichrist for the messiah and are still deluded, a delusion that will become apparent to them when he makes the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24, Daniel 9). That is what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24: 15-28 because they will finally know that Jesus is Lord, they rejected Him, and the antichrist is NOT the Messiah. They are advised in Mt 24 when they understand this, to run to the wilderness (Petra) where they will be protected as the remnant for 3.5 years and they will enter the Kingdom as promised by Jesus thousands of years prior. He always keeps a remnant

    Yes, church age believers escape judgment. Jesus told us so several times in the bible, when we are saved by grace thru faith, our sins are remembered no more. (2 Peter 1:9; 1 John 1:9 to name just two). If we go thru the Tribulation then several verses begin to conflict: why did the angel tell Daniel the Tribulation is for judgment of sins when the Church Age saints have their sins remembered no more? Why will be go thru wrath (Rev 6) when Paul said we are not apppointed to wrath? (1 Thess 5:9) And so on. Phil, this is a blog entry with bible verses to show the conflicts that exist in a post or even mid trib stance. They are posed as "if-then" statements and any mid or post tribber has to answer those with bible verses in context in order to make their claims.

    The Tribulation is about judgment on the Jews as decreed in Daniel’s time, and to punish the unbelievers. Church Age saints will not go thru it. Mt 24 is clear on this

  13. Phil, I deleted your comment. I am truly sorry, sincerely, but I do not have time to explain the whole purpose and point of the bible to you. Your question marks a woefully ignorant view of the point of the rapture and the tribulation, and Paul warned us in 4 spheres not to be ignorant of certain doctrines, and one of them was the rapture and the second coming.(Romans 11:25; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13) My advice to you is to pray, Pray, PRAY to the real and true Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding. He will deliver it to you without reproach. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5. He is gracious that way.


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