Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Christ Returns... to Delaware. One Raptured.

The disappearance of Steven J. Hastings in late 2008 was understandably not reported in the Newark Post, but it turns out that this humble short-haul trucker was the Christian for whom Jesus returned to earth. Hastings' employer, Old Dominion Freight Lines, considered him a simple no-call/no-show on January 3, 2009, and after a week of no response, they updated his status as "voluntary termination." Repeated messages went unanswered, and the matter was forgotten.

Hastings wasn't actually reported missing until last week, when the manager of his apartment entered his home, in Felton, Delaware, on the assumption that he had vacated without notice. To his surprise, however, everything in Hastings' apartment was exactly as one would have expected if the man was sitting at his breakfast table... well, if he was sitting at his breakfast table four months ago. His television was on, and tuned to KYW, the local CBS affiliate. His cereal (Wheaties) was poured, with milk, and partially consumed -- though quite obviously long since expired. His uniform was lying on a table, and his computer was on, with a partially composed email opened. The apartment manager promptly alerted the authorities, but with no known relatives, little was immediately done, other than a cursory Missing Persons report.

When officials interviewed Hastings' co-workers, few were able to tell much about the man. Hastings drove various regional routes, servicing Old Dominion's Northeast region, but spent little time actually engaged with his peers. The only direct interaction Hastings seemed to have with his fellow drivers was his propensity to proselytize -- several current and former drivers mentioned this annoying quirk, with one, Jon Semperly, describing Hastings' approach as, "dumb and stupid" (emphasis Semperly's).

Further investigation found that Hastings was a member of the Church of God of Prophecy, in Felton, DE, where he practiced an Evangelical form of Christianity. The church teaches that the Bible is the true and literal Word of God, and that on Jesus' return, all true believers will be "raptured" -- they will disappear, taking on a spiritual form, and be whisked away with Jesus to heaven, while the Tribulation begins. Although the official Church of God of Prophecy doctrine remains intentionally ambiguous with respect to eschatology, church members who were familiar with Hastings noted that he was a Pre-tribulational (dispensational) Premillennialist -- a point on which he was quick to debate.

Investigators took note, then, when the bizarre circumstances of his disappearance (which took place at approximately 3pm local time on December 28, 2008, according to the time at which the incomplete email message was initialized), coupled with his evident faith and eschatological convictions, seemed to undeniably point to the Second Coming of Christ as having passed, with Hastings alone being raptured. The only conclusion which can be drawn is that all other religions, including the various extant forms of Christianity, are incorrect on one or more key points. It is unfortunate, authorities say, that Christ's return did not include a detailed orthodoxy, so that the remaining people may yet convert to the appropriate version of Christianity.

For those who take issue with the Return being so obscure, we must realize that Revelation 1:7 has been fulfilled -- all were witness to His return -- but with the apparent lone exception of Steven Hastings, we all suppressed the Truth before us.

The best course of action, then, is for humans across the globe to seek to identify Hastings' specific beliefs, and to emulate them. All we know at present is that he was a member of the Church of God of Prophecy, and that he was a staunch Pre-tribulational (dispensational) Premillennialist. Join the effort to determine the rest of Hastings' beliefs, and with the Grace of God, perhaps we can increase heaven's eventual population.