The Masque of Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe: In this creepy story, the Red Death comes to main character's decadent party "like a thief in the night." Poe is quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:4 here, and the Red Death goes on to wreak all kinds of havoc, just like Paul thinks the apocalyptic Christ will do.
The Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins: This 16-book series tells the story of the end times and what happens after all the true believers are raptured up in Heaven. Spoiler alert: Earth is not a fun time during the seven years of tribulation.
The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsay: This 1970 book compared current events to biblical prophecies to prove that we were living in the end times. The author even had a hunch that the world might end in the 1980s. Sure, the hunch was wrong, but it was really good for book sales.
The State and Revolution by Vladimir Lenin: Russian communist politician, Vladimir Lenin, declared that a line from 2 Thessalonians 3:10—"He who does not work shall not eat"—was one of the necessary principles of any socialist society. Basically, do your fair share and everything will be good.
Pop Culture References
The Simpsons: In the episode, Simpsons Bible Stories, the family sleeps through the apocalypse. When they wake up and see the Flanders family is being raptured, Marge wonders, "Why aren't we ascending into Heaven? Oh, right. The sins." To be fair, Lisa is almost raptured, but then Homer grabs her and pulls her back down to Hell on Earth.
American Dad: When everyone is taken up into Heaven in the episode Rapture's Delight, Stan, Francine, and Roger are left behind to help Jesus defeat the antichrist after seven years of tribulation on Earth. Oddly enough, it's hilarious.
Community: The Halloween episode of this TV show—Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps—features a biblical Rapture in which Shirley, the one devout Christian character on the show, is taken up into Heaven, and the rest of the cast is left to face plagues and other unspeakably funny biblical terrors.
Sons of Perdition: This documentary takes its title from 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and follows a group of young men who have been exiled and shunned by their families after rejecting the teachings of Warren Jeffs. In 2011, Jeffs was sent to jail for forcing underage girls into marriage, so they probably had the right idea.
True Love Waits: This Christian organization, which is focused on encouraging teens to abstain from pre-martial sex, has a "virginity pledge" which is inspired by 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor." Yup. Paul is all about laying off the sexy times.
Harold Camping: Radio preacher Harold Camping predicted that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011. When that date came and went without apocalyptic incident, Camping moved the date up to October 21, 2011. Since the world didn't end that day either, he gave up predicting the Day of the Lord. Good move.