So, here we are... September 24th, 2017... the day after the end of the world.
Here I thought I had these great front row seats to the apocalypse, but it's Sunday morning and we're still here... I want my money back!
Yesterday came and went and nothing happened. Well, not exactly nothing... I had breakfast with the family at the Townhouse Cafe, a local eating establishment. (I recommend the chicken fried steak and eggs.) Heavy on the cholesterol, but light on the death and destruction.
In the afternoon, I officiated a wedding for an old friend of mine. It was great to reconnect with a lot of people I hadn't seen in years. Eric, a friend from our high school days, showed up in a Pac-Man suit. No joke. Pants. Tie. Jacket. The whole nine yards. It was like a giant screen shot of a Pac-Man level and it was EPIC! Unfortunately, still no opening of the sky. No trumpets. No pale horse. Wait! Was that a slight neighing I just heard in the distance? Never mind, it's just the old mare in the pasture across from the old, country church...
The gallows of time
Do you want to know why I never feel any relief OR disappointment when one of these end-of-the-world dates passes us by? Because I have yet to actually believe one. No, not even for a fleeting moment. I believe that we will not know the "day, nor the hour". I don't believe we are supposed to know and I don't believe we should even want to know.
The entire purpose of any signs of the end is to urge us to be prepared. Here's a news flash for you: The end is near for all of us. No one from the time of the prophecies of John the Revelator (or even Daniel) till now has been able to escape the slow and steady creep of death that stalks us all. The warnings all ring true for everyone, then. THE end may be near, but MY end is certain and nearer still. I could die at any moment. I am at the mercy of God and chance. We all stand in the shadow of the gallows of time.
Is that depressing enough for you? I hope so. It's a wakeup call. No charge. If you get nothing else from the study of prophecy (or this blog post), get that tidbit. Time doesn't stop for any of us and death doesn't take a day off. Be ready.
Snake oil and books for sale
Whenever I hear another prediction about the end of the world, I can't help but laugh at the misguided attempts to pin down the apocalypse to a convenient date and time. I was only four years old in 1988, so I doubt I remember the predictions, but I remember everyone laughing for years after the fact about the less-than-accurate predictions of Edgar Whisenant in his book, "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988". I'll bet he had a hard time unloading copies after January 1st, 1989...
There are always false prophets, misguided religious zealots, charlatans, snake oil salesmen, and downright hacks who are trying their best to pinpoint a date for things to fall apart, usually for profit.
This time around, it was a self-proclaimed "Christian Numerology Expert". I find this type of character to be particularly laughable. Christian mystics who dabble in astrology and magic always confound me, especially when they are hardline fundamentalists. Yes, there are some numerical patterns in scripture and some of those were intentionally included and have significance. None of these numbers have any mystical properties or contain the key to some elusive Biblical "code", however.
Evidently, in the alternate reality these people live in, God is a closeted pagan who feels compelled to schedule His grand (re)entrance to coincide with some celestial event, such as a blood moon or eclipse. In 1 Corinthians 1:22, Paul complains of superstitious Jews who look for a sign and educated Greeks who look to human knowledge. The problem with both is a lack of faith. Jesus also spoke of this problem when He said, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe." (John 4:48)
Jesus spoke of sign-seeking again when He said, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign". (Matthew 12:39) He knew that they were simply testing Him. They had no faith. The prophecy hacks who try to predict the rapture, the tribulation, or armageddon are in the same boat. If they had a little more faith and a little less fear, they wouldn't need to obsess over such trivial things as dates and signs.
I just hope they can figure out what do with all those copies of "92,317 Reasons the Rapture Will Be on 9/23/17"...