The "Are We There Yet?" of Overly Fearful "End Time Believers" Are Their Obsessions About End Time Prophecies?
Around and Around. Are "End Time Believers" Getting too Fearful? Too Obsessed?
It was Paul who Thought Christ's Return was "in this Lifetime"
I might visit places, spend my money and contemplate fun and pleasure if I were leaving on a celestial jet plane. Even a physical jaunt would thrill me in my excited self. After the Chinese Plague, our fearful contemplations may be going "haywire"
However, the end of the world that most people are contemplating is violent, horrendous, oceans flowing over the land, volcanoes, poles flipping up and down and crops getting destroyed and cities disappearing. In this case, fun isn't on most people's minds. Pure outright nihilistic hedonism, now that's what many would do, but that's despair and panic and calamity coming down on you, or doing something you have been holding back on. But that's not your real question.
TIME SCALES: A Thousand Years for a Day?
The Bible hints that God's timescale is vastly different to ours; "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" - so Jesus has only been away for just over two days, from one point of view. Paul seemed to have his own personal "time scale" about the coming "end times and the return of Jesus".
Paul Talked about "His Own Lifetime"
In 2 Thess. 1:7, which says, "God will provide relief to you who are afflicted AND to us as well, when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire," it appears from a straightforward reading that Paul was contemplating that Jesus would return soon!
Or what about 1 Thess. 4:15-17, how he says, those of us who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then those of us who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air". Certainly there are apologists and theologians who have quick answers for this, but again, a straightforward reading says Paul was talking plainly.
"Behold... A Mystery
One more example is 1 Cor. 15:51, when Paul says, "Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality." This is a famous Christian scripture and has a powerful effect on people, but for 2000 years the sentence sounds like it sounds. Paul thought this was going to happen to him.
Toward the end of his life, in his pastoral letters, Paul didn't speak this way; see the letters he wrote to Timothy. What Paul might have personally and hoped for and thought can be forgiven from a man who lived every moment spreading the gospel. However the scriptures still remain to point to his verbiage.
The Volcano that Started the "Dark Ages"
There have been different times in history when Christians have thought such heavenly signs were happening. There was a large volcanic eruption that shook the earth and ushered in the Dark Ages in A.D. 535, marking the start of a terrible time on Earth. The sun was blocked behind gray overcast for nearly 10 years, crops failed, food was sparse, there was famine, wars, and it seemed that up to half of the world's population was dying or suffering unto death. Be the four horsemen of the Apocalypse were coming might have been on a few people's minds! But, for all of those who might have prayed daily for the "rest of the end to come". Were, they disappointed in THEIR life time because the end of the world DID NOT COME? Who knows! Probably. When the weather finally moderated,, they decided the end could come, but not now, thankfully.
Just Stop Setting Dates
Since this is such a serious topic to those who talk about it and have their lives affected by it, it is difficult to make observations that do not seem jaded, depressing or fatalistic.
For my part, I take the point of view that if one is looking for ANY DATE, with constant anticipation, we are going to live in a state of irritation and fitful prayer constantly seeking solace simply BECAUSE of our hope.
Good Old 1843 - The Millerites
There once was a preacher named Miller in New York in the middle of the 1800's. People said he "set a date for the Return of Christ". Despite the urging of his supporters, Miller, in response to their urging he did narrow the time-period to sometime in 1843, stating: "My principles in brief, are, that Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, cleanse, purify, and take possession of the same, with all the saints, sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844". March 21, 1844 passed without incident, and the majority of Millerites maintained their faith.
"Are We There Yet"
"Are we there yet" is the constant comic refrain for parents who listen to their kids in the back seat. It seems to me that many live in a state of "are we there yet" for a much more dramatic and earth shaking event.
"The End of Days" and the "Return of Christ" can be hope and fear thoughts. Somehow it seems to be locked in our genes or our subconscious. It's also in our religions. I think also that there is a morbidity about civilization and a potential collapse.
We are just sure its all going to fall apart. Will it happen? It remains for history to be written. Somehow something ticks in some of us that deep down inside that is like a dark specter wishing the collapse of all of this "false success". There are many many who see MODERNITY as one of Satan's Curses!
No one knows what is going to happen. The Mayans fell on their sword. Quetzacoatl was probably some kind of UFO guy, but does quoting a hundred historical sources, prophets of doom and scientists who want to scare you about the poles turning over and over -- all of that doesn't mean anyone knows anything!!! The 2012 Event did not happen.
The Fall and Destruction of Jerusalem - Jesus Predicted and it Happened!
Just before Jesus died, he talked about the destruction of Jerusalem. It was a human event that people could have escaped. It happened 40 years after he died, and it was total. These kinds of events happening all at once would mean that human destruction would be virtually complete. Those alive would wish themselves dead.
Most people just live their lives and put these heavy thoughts in the back of their minds, or dismiss them so they can deal. There is something about the turning of a millennium that makes people think more about this topic. However, the turning of a clock should not cause calamity. Even though some think there is a relationship. Live your life and enjoy it. That is the best and only answer in the end!
© 2012 Christofer French