So the end of the world didn’t come Saturday. Harold Camping, the leader of this movement based in Fundamentalism, doesn’t know what to make of it and you can Google the news and see various commentary about this. Headlines in the Huffington Post and various news sources show that this has become a joke in popular culture, but simultaneously we realize how dangerous end times prophecy is. People sold their possessions, donated money to get the word , and braced for the end – for God’s return. Now they are forced to live more days without the earthly things that support a human being. For some families, this is a minor humanitarian crisis. Official word as to how people will be compensated or repaid is at this moment unclear.
What really blows my mind, is that even if someone had read all the apocalyptic passages in the Bible, in Danial, Isaiah, by Jesus and in the actual Apocalypse (last book of the Bible known as Revelation) it seems quite clear to me that the actual time of the end is not clear to humanity. That something, according to Jesus, is only for our Heavenly Father to know. Below I have attached the entire chapter of Matthew 24 for you to read. Jesus, in his humanly form, stated that even The Son does not know. That has not kept people from speculating however. The early church thought that the end would come in their lifetime. In fact, many who have gone through tough times and suffering have hoped that the evil and injustice in the world (the spirit of the Anti-Christ) would be overcome by God – and soon. Certainly, those who lived in the times of WWII and were persecuted by Hitler’s goons would have seen signs of the end of the world. But it did not end. God’s time had not come. Despite the evil we see around us, these are only echoes of the end – a time which we cannot predict – nor should we.
Those who know the end many times cease to work. Those who do Good should not sit down and think that if we merely wait things out God will sort things through for us. This is dangerous. There is still evil in the world today. There is still unjust and unfair situations that need smoothing and caring towards. The free will that God gave us is to be exercised for the purpose of imitating God’s great Justice – that which will come one day. When Christ came he did not stay and say, now sit here and wait for me to return. He sent out the Disciples to do good and care for the sick and weary. To being the low to be well again. To tell the world that God loves them NOW – that the Kingdom is coming, and that we are to work for however much time it takes for God (who is eternal) to sweep away what we cannot do ourselves. But this is the time for action and the time for us to learn to do the greatest good in the midst of great darkness. And in God’s image, we have the dignity and commission to do so with the power God has given us through the Holy Spirit.
I received a pamphlet that outlined the logic of the group predicting the end of the world. It was prideful and full of human philosophy which I believe blinded them to what God’s word actually said. It was prooftexting, and using small bits to prove a specific point of “reason” but negating the counter-arguments with simple wipes of the hand. They believed that God’s Holy Spirit gives His believers special knowledge that non-believers cannot have and diregarded Jesus’ statement that only The Father knows – Only God. They claimed a secret knowledge (a Gnosis) which others cannot have unless they are the Chosen ones.
People – I need to say this whether you believe or not – This is not Christianity. This arrogance comes in the name of Christ, but Jesus, in the passage below, tells us who do believe to be discerning. Not to give into the false prophets, and people who say that they “Know” what is coming. They do not. If God broke into this world today in all His power, it would be known by ALL. Though, in the time of Christ, God moved humbly among us, the Revelation shows us a different picture. When the time of the world has come, and darkness has become deep, so deep we can barely stand it,God will come in a great display of His Glory. It will not be a whimper. And the most important part -it cannot be foretold.
I look forward to the end, because it really isn’t the End. It is a renewing. God will make all things new again. The sin and evil we breathe in will be wiped away, and a new age will begin. The Earth will be changed and the Heavens will be kneaded back into earthly things. God will be the center of it all. I look forward to that time, but for now I listen to Jesus’ words. I work towards the great Good of all God’s creation, I worship God to fulfill my great purpose, and I tell the world that Jesus came, and he will return. His Spirit is with us, and we can have perfect peace in the joy of His presence now.
I hope you will read the following chapter closely. Jesus is a master of hyperbole – he makes emphasis strong so we get the point. I think it is clear that the end will come, but we do not know when. I hope this blip doesn’t get in the way of doing God’s work in the world. Read, and Do more Good!
Matthew 24 (New International Version)
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.