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The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation Paperback – July 5, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ordained minister Rossing is ready to do battle with evangelicals both within and outside of her Lutheran Church camp. Rossing, who teaches New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, begins her sparring by taking on the widely popular Left Behind series and all it presumes to communicate about the future of the world. Claiming that the Left Behind authors' interpretation of prophetic biblical verses is "fiction," Rossing firmly asserts that the Book of Revelation has a completely different purpose than to predict upcoming world uprisings and the eventual end of the earth. Instead, Rossing believes that this biblical vision is meant to inspire humanity to seek out "repentance and justice." Rossing also maintains, somewhat unfairly, that rapture enthusiasts extol a careless, abusive attitude toward God's created world, since rapture theology declares that the followers of Christ are soon to be removed from it. More significant is Rossing's belief that Revelation does not offer a prophetic look at Jerusalem as the inevitable battleground between good and evil, but rather extends the promise of a New Jerusalem that will open its arms to all nations in peace. While Rossing's scholarly work is well organized and obviously carefully thought out, evangelicals may take issue with the blanket statement that "most Christian churches and biblical scholars condemn Rapture theology as a distortion of Christian faith with little biblical basis." This book will likely upset Christian conservatives while appealing to many in mainline denominations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Arguing against the dispensational theology of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind novels, Rossing advances an alternative view of the Revelation of St. John, a text that has fascinated biblical scholars and lay readers--beginning, no doubt, with those to whom it was first addressed--for almost 2,000 years. Although a professional New Testament scholar, Rossing writes for a popular readership, including Left Behind fans. She places the Revelation in a tradition of apocalypse and prophecy that has less to do with violence or prediction than with vision. In so doing she argues powerfully against the fascination with violence characteristic of much dispensational thinking. For Rossing, the Revelation is "a rapture in reverse"--God raptured, so to speak, into the world as Immanuel, God-with-us. That, she says, is a vision of a new Jerusalem, a beloved community--a vision of peace and justice that has inspired a host of good stories and still inspires persistent hope in the face of oppression and violence. Steven Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (July 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813343143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813343143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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252 of 288 people found the following review helpful By The Rev. Stephanie Chase Wilson on April 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book. I found it riveting and read it in one day. It is a clear and easy read. It outlines how there is no "Rapture" found in scripture. This is a false theology invented 170 years ago by piecing together unrelated biblical texts and then tossing in some extra stuff. It's not even a literal interpretation of the Bible. Yet one of the challenges of the theology is its impact on foreign policy and the environment today. Having a true interpretation of endtimes, as actually found in scripture, will correct many hurtful and sinful policies currently practiced by those who adhere to the Rapture theology. Rossing also opposes the violence associated with a Rapture interpretation of the book of Revelation.
She then goes on to give a very comprehensive and persuasive argument for what Revelation actually says. Violence is of mankind; "Lamb power" and testimony are of God. Jesus is "Emmanuel," Hebrew for "God with us." God does not take us up from Earth, Rapture the faithful away, but comes down to Earth, to be with us and heal our wounds. I think this book is recommended reading for anyone who has ever read the Left Behind series. It will also be helpful for church Bible study and discussion groups.
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169 of 200 people found the following review helpful By Stephen L. White on May 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to be entertained with an exciting, but very whacky story, then read the LEFT BEHIND series. But if you want to be able to separate solid biblical interpretation from something that has been made up out of whole cloth and then has served as a basis for a money making machine and some very questionable political positions, then read this book first. It is good, solid, scholarly biblical interpretation. I'm just afraid that those who are persuaded that the LEFT BEHIND series is based in "truth" won't bother to read Rossing's book and be thoughtful about this issue. Great book which deserves a lot of attention!
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106 of 127 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "The Rapture Exposed," theologian Barbara Rossing uses the verb "fabricate" to examine the "Left Behind" series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and brilliantly refute their distortion of God's vision for the world. "The Da Vinci Code," another fabrication masquerading as truth, can easily be de-coded by checking out the Opus Dei and Priory of Sion Hoax sites, or taking a class in "Da Vinci 101," but recruiting people into believing they will be spirited up to heaven "any day now" and citing the Bible as evidence is not even biblical. Jesus himself says in Matt 24:36 that the world's end will come at a day and hour not even the Son knows.
"THE RAPTURE IS A RACKET" proclaims Rossing in her Chapter 1 opening sentence, then continues, "In place of Jesus's blessing of peacemakers, the Rapture voyeuristically glorifies violence and war." LaHaye's fictional output surpasses that of fellow Rapturist Hal Lindsey, whose 1970 "Late Great Planet Earth" saw the Cold War as an indication of end times. Lindsey found the Antichrist first as Soviet, but now as Muslim. Of particular interest is Rossing's Chapter 3: "The Rapture Script of the Middle East."
Rossing points out that no passage in the Bible uses the word "Rapture" -- as LaHaye and Lindsey admit -- and traces this distortion of Christian faith to John Nelson Darby, a 19th century evangelical preacher, who invented "dispensations" -- seven intervals of time that he said were God's grand timetable for world events. Darby's scenarios were based on three verses from Daniel 9:25-27.
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62 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin on May 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Rapture Exposed by Barbara Rossing exposes some of the falicy in our modern way of thinking about the Revelation. Rossing denounces the Left Behind books as exploiters of this "fictional" way of thinking. She is trying to tell the Christian community that Jesus will not come down and damn all the unfaithfull to hell, but will instead save EVERYONE from damnation. He has already saved us by his death on the cross. Her message is one of hope. Rossing does an excellent job of teaching her theory of the Revelation and the "rapture." I would highly recommend that every Christian read this eye-opening book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is as much about emphasizing the actual teachings of the Book of Revelation as it is debunking the extremely strange beliefs underlying things like the Left Behind series. Ms. Rossing is clearly (clearly, that is, to anyone who has actually sat down and read the book) an extremely devout Christian who is upset that the genuine teachings of the New Testament in general and the Book of Revelation have been obscured by the premillenial teachings that have cropped up in the past 170 years. The book therefore has a twofold purpose: a warning against what can only be considered fringe religious thought and explication of the theology of Revelation.

I am part of a rapidly vanishing breed: a politically liberal Christian evangelical. Specifically, I was raised Southern Baptist, though I have left the denomination because of the forsaking of traditional Biblical principles by the convention in the past two decades (specifically, the assertion of the authority of pastors, in contradiction of the centuries old Baptist doctrine of the priesthood of the believers; the recent emphasis on a subservient role of women in the church, to the point of instructing wives to obey their husbands; and the widespread role the convention has played in promoting regressive, right wing politics, whereas Baptist had until the 20th century mainly been politically progressive). In junior high in Little Rock, Arkansas I became a dedicated Bible reader. I first read it from cover to cover in the Living Bible paraphrase, then reread it in the King James Version (still my favorite translation--I've since read it two more times in the KJV), then the NIV version, later the Today's English version, and finally the NRSV. At the same time I began reading many religious books.
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