Angels and Demons and Tornadoes, oh my! Not wanting to be left behind or worse – considered a leftover, Affirm Films has released an end times horror-meets-Sunday-School film called The Remaining. Sony Pictures describes the film as “an action-packed supernatural thriller that addresses questions of life, love and belief against an apocalyptic backdrop.”
As the movie plot progresses the world as we know it collapses and the survivors face difficult choices. Will they go down a road toward life and faith, or simply try to survive the chaos?
If you are feeling like there have already been enough End Times features to last us until the end times, this one has a few different twists that might tweak your interest. At the risk of a miniscule spoiler violation, you should know that the folks who are “raptured” are actually taken in spiritual form only. In other words, rather than millions of people disappearing, you have a boat load of dropping bodies – which is then explained by the skeptics in the movie as IDS (you know – like Instant Death Syndrome).
One scene that stood out to me was when a principal character named Skylar is looking in the Bible and cries out, “‘Rapture.’ It’s not in here!”
And you know what? She’s right! You’ll search until the end of days for the word “rapture” in the Bible, but you won’t dig it up. So why all the hoopla and hype on our part about a happening that isn’t even in the Bible? No wonder we are sometimes seen as Twilight Zone tour guides who are a few sandwiches short of a picnic – right?
But the truth is, while technically the word “rapture” isn’t in the Bible, the event is described in detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
The phrase “caught up” in those verses is repare in Latin – hence the word “rapture.” So while Skylar raises a great point, the bigger issue (I would say) is…are you ready? This is what Jesus had in mind when He gave this warning:
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:42-44).
The word for “keep watch” in this verse is very interesting. The definition is “to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.” In other words, Jesus is saying that a vital spiritual discipline on the part of His followers is to keep an eye on the sky!
Unfortunately, some Christians nitpick and argue and bicker like little children on a playground about the when and the how and even the who of the rapture – but rather than being squabblers, we should be watchers!
Movies like The Remaining can either cause us to freak out over the details, or they can motivate us to keep the main thing the main thing – and that is waking up each and every morning with an attitude of expectation and anticipation that today could be the day!
We must be spiritually awake at a time when Christians are starting to drowse off and flake out. We must be like guards on duty, and the treasure we protect is the message of the gospel. Let’s do all we can to make sure that when Jesus comes back to collect His treasured ones, everyone is ready!
So what will you do to be watchful? Perhaps it means making every moment count, and being present with the ones you love? Or maybe you realize that you only have a limited time to be a part of THE Cause of making disciples who make disciples?
Be one of the watching, so your friends don’t end up remaining.
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
We will spend the rest of our days figuring out what it means to be watchful for the return of Jesus, but the point is to start the process! Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security by the blanket of consumerism that surrounds us. Our Lord will fulfill His promise, so let’s fulfill THE Cause!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Jesus, thank You that You will one day return and take us to our true home. Help us to be watchful and vigilant as we anxiously await Your appearing, and give us opportunity to share the gospel.
Read: Revelation 1:7. Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!
Get: Discussion Guide for The Remaining. The people behind this movie have developed a FREE Discussion Guide for use with this attention-grabbing film. It includes group activities and deeper questions that will get your students thinking. Check it out.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: The Remaining is a reminder that we should be watchful for Jesus’ return, and serious about our efforts to share the gospel.
Key Scripture:Matthew 24:42-44
- Do you think the Rapture is coming soon? Why or why not?
- Do you think The Remaining is an accurate prediction of what will happen?
- What does it mean to “keep watch”?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to furthering THE Cause of Christ?