Tag Archive: end of the world

So, the world did not end after all…what a bummer. What a bummer for all those folks who donated all kinds of money for the 5000+ billboards distributed all over the world (literally!). What a bummer for all those folks who really believed this (despite what their Scriptures said) and now will be timid to show up in public. What a bummer for all those folks who may have quit their jobs or gone on crazy vacations assuming they would not have to pay their bills. What a bummer for those who pre-paid pet care facilities to come and rescue their pets after the rapture; yes, I really did read a news story about this and I am now sorry that I did not save the link to prove it to you. One guy decided to set up a small online business where for $135 he would collect and take good care of your pet in a post-rapture situation. He said in a news report that his clients (some 250 folks) are going to be disappointed twice today; once when they realize that rapture did not happen and a second time when they realize that he does not do refunds.

In the aftermath of all of this I have to ask myself: what was Harold Camping thinking? I read a post today that suggested that Camping was pulling a huge publicity stunt for his radio network; plain and simple. Perhaps an aging Harold Camping decided that he wanted his life’s pursuits (Family Radio) recognized by the masses just once before he died; I have to admit that I had never heard of Family Radio nor Harold Camping prior to this all of this. Today there are atheists, agnostics, pastors, common folks…everyone really is talking about this thing that did not happen. Could this have been a potential motivation? Or, as Scripture warns us, was Harold Camping simply misguided and a false prophet. I am not sure which outcome I would be happier with.

Hopefully this whole ordeal, now behind us, has caused some folks to consider the reality of “what if”? What if it was true? Where would my life be now? If just one person reconsiders the direction of their life as a result of this I suppose we could say it has not all been a loss.

Get ready for round two of the end of the world…2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar is just a year away!

So…the day is getting closer. Yup, the day that the world is supposed to end. I wouldn’t worry too much though…it could even happen today.

Harold Camping and his popular Family Radio organization in the US has been spreading the message that the world is going to end on May 21st, 2011…this Saturday. As I shared in the first part of this post, humanity’s obsession with the end of the world combined with our lack patience has produced what we have today: people so desperate to see the end of the world come (for a  variety of reasons) that we have these date setters pop up now and again.

There is a reality to this whole thing though: the world WILL end…its just a matter of when and a matter of us not really knowing when for sure. Rest assured however, people have been asking about this for a long, long time. The Scriptures even state that people were becoming impatient while waiting for the return of Christ and the ‘end of the world’ to take place some 2000 years ago.

2 Peter 3:4

They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”

The prophet Daniel from the Old Testament of the Bible describes an amazing vision that he received which frames for us a very basic truth: the end is coming and it could be today…but we just do not know for sure. Read Daniel 9:20-27 to see what I am talking about.

In this passage Daniel talks about ‘seventy sets of seven’, which denote 490 years between the command to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and the ‘end of the world’. More specifically, he says that there will be ‘seven sets of seven and sixty two sets of seven’ between this command to rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed one (Christ) comes. Next, there will be one final set of seven before the ‘end of the world’.

Now, if we were date setters we would attempt to pinpoint the historical date of the command to rebuild Jerusalem (which was destroyed in the Babylonian exile of the nation of Israel). J. Vernon McGee says that this date is most likely 445 B.C., which would make the ‘end of the world’ situated in 45 A.D.

But wait! That didn’t happen! And here is the flaw in the whole situation: the Bible does not contradict itself and elsewhere states that the time and the date of the return of Christ and this ‘end of the world’ will be hidden from humanity until it happens. What can we learn from Daniel’s vision then? Was Daniel mistaken?

We can learn this from Daniel’s vision: we are closer now to the ‘end of the world’ than we have ever been. Sixty-nine of the Daniel’s seventy sets of seven have come to pass. We are present living literally on borrowed time and have been ever since the birth of Christ. We exist within what scholars call a ‘prophetic gap’, an unidentified period of time of undetermined length. The clock stopped ticking at sixty-nine sets of seven but will resume ticking any day and at any moment

Have you ever been on the Power Tower at Marine Land or some other amusement park? You get in, ride to the top, sit there a while, and then come crashing down. You know what is going to happen…but you just do not know when.

We are living in a period of time that could literally end today…or tomorrow…or Saturday.  But even if Christ did return on Saturday it is not because Harold Camping got it right but rather because he got lucky. We have no guarantee of tomorrow and only today here with us now…and so what do we do?

We ensure that our hearts are in proper standing with Jesus Christ…and then heed the advice of Peter:

1 Peter 4:7-10

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I look forward to more blogging next week…

Have you ever heard that great song “End of the World” done by Great Big Sea? I was amazed at how many students today have never heard of the band Great Big Sea…where has musical taste gone these days! Great Big Sea was a staple band when I was in university just 10 years ago; they even played at my wife’s high school prom and THAT was a BIG deal!

All of this to say that our culture today is really quite interested with how we all got here on earth (i.e. the beginning of the world) and also with how we are going to leave here (i.e. the end of the world). There have been so many predictions about the end of the world over the past 2000 years that if it was possible, I am sure that God would have succumbed to the peer pressure of it all and just ended everything already!

But then, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised about this apocalyptic obsession that we have today; Jesus told us to be waiting and be watching for the end to come. Jesus didn’t tell us to become obsessed however and he most certainly didn’t tell us that a few really smart people would figure it out someday and sound the alarm. If history has taught us anything it is that statistically, 100% of the entire end of the world predictions thus far have been inaccurate. I think that is a pretty solid trend that we can be confident about.

We currently are facing the most recent ‘end of the world’ prediction by Harold Camping of Family Radio; a California based broadcasting organization. Camping uses a number of biblical genealogies to determine the age of the earth and subsequently the ‘end of the world’ which will begin with the rapture of ~3% of the earth’s population on May 21, 2011 and the subsequent destruction of the earth on October 21st, 2011. Camping is no newcomer to this ‘date setting’ group; he also predicted the ‘end of the world’ in 1994…and obviously lived to tell about it.

I think the author of the Peanuts comic strip had the most interesting thing to say about predicting the ‘end of the world’:

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.” Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip.

There is some truth to what Camping is saying (i.e. that there will be great changes to us and to the world around us some day); however, there is a lot of myth associated with what he is teaching too (i.e. that we can know the time and the date). Here are a few facts to help set the record straight.

1. This “end of the world” will take place at some point.
Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ will come back at some point in the world; when he does come back a number of great things will take place. Those who are faithful and accept Christ in this life will have an inheritance of honor and rule with him in the life that comes next (Col 1:10-12). Those who are not faithful and reject Christ will be confronted with the reality that they were misguided and they will answer to God for this (Rev 20:12-13). Those who have previously died will be returned to life to either rule with Christ or answer to God depending on how they lived their life (1 Thess 4:13-14). Finally, there will be a new earth and a new heaven that will be void of all sickness, death and disease. It will be like restoration of the Garden of Eden from the book of Genesis; our bodies will also be restored to that Garden of Eden state (Rev 22:1-3, 21:1).

2. No one knows when this will take place.
For as many of the Scriptures that we have that describe what will take place at “the end of the world” there are those that tell us that we will not know the time…and that no one will. In fact, the bible teaches that the end will come like a ‘thief in the night’. Never have I known a thief to book an appointment ahead of time!

3. What should we do? We must be ready.
Each of us must ensure that we are living in such a spiritual state that we are prepared to meet Jesus when he returns. This is a serious and somewhat fearful thought, yet it must be considered. Remember that you do not have to be perfect; what is required is humble submission to Jesus Christ within which there is no condemnation (Romans 7:1).

Also, we should continue preaching the words of God to all those around us. This is what Jesus asked us to do when he left us.

So, don’t worry about these doomsday predictions: statistically you have nothing to worry about. However, pay close attention to the fact that while these recent predictions are based on shaky ground there is truth in the fact that Christ will return and he hopes to find his people ready.